Are you on LinkedIn or Twitter? Have you ever “Googled” yourself? Have you checked the privacy settings on your Facebook account? If you answered no to any of these questions, you may be preventing yourself from finding that perfect job or internship. More and more employers are using social media/networking to post jobs and to also get the inside scoop on candidates that they can’t get from a resume or interview. What does that mean for you? It means that not only do you need to have an online presence, but that presence has to be free of potentially damaging information!
A Few Steps to Enhance Your Online Professional Image:
- Create or Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is an online professional networking site used by over 53 million people in 200 countries. It allows you to connect with other professionals who may be doing something you are interested in pursuing. You can join groups such as The Toppel Career Center, UM alumni groups, or other professional associations to increase your connections. You will quickly see how everyone is linked together!
LinkedIn Grad Guide
10 Ways to Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn Etiquette Guide
Clean Up Your Facebook Profile
- Create and Use Your Twitter Account Effectively
Twitter is more than just about following celebrities and sharing meaningless information. Did you know that some of the biggest corporations in the world have Twitter accounts and are constantly tweeting job openings? You just have to find out who to follow and use Twitter wisely! First, choose a professional username and create your profile; you only have 140 characters so be clear about what you do or want to do and where you are. Don’t forget to add your website or blog if you have one. Now, just start looking for people to follow and tweet away! Try something like: “Looking for career advice in the advertising industry. Can anyone help?” or “Seeking internship in the San Francisco area in accounting for the summer. Any suggestions?” Keep it clean and don’t post any personal information since anyone can access it.
To help you start, here is a list of some career-related tweeters (there are many more):
Toppel Career Center
There are many companies who post jobs via Twitter. Do a search for companies you’re interested in to see if they’re tweeting.
If you want to keep your Facebook profile personal and don’t want potential employers to view it, make sure to spend some time in the Privacy Settings to block access to folks who are not your friends. Keep in mind however, that once you post something online, you run the risk of someone finding it in one way or another. That means that regardless of your privacy settings, you should remove any questionable information or pictures (better safe than sorry). For information on privacy settings, click here
. If you do decide to use Facebook to network with companies, then you have to be even more careful!
Google Yourself and Set Google Alerts!
Enter your name in the Google search box and see what pops up. If you have a common name, try entering your city or other related information. If you find something that you want to have removed, you can try to do so by clicking here
. This may or may not work so your best bet may be to contact the website directly and politely ask that they remove your information.
Set up a Google Alert
so that you’re notified each time your name pops up somewhere on the internet. You can set it up by clicking here
Create a YouTube Channel
Some students like to post short “video resumes” about themselves. If you choose to do so, keep them short, professional and clean. You can also showcase your work (videos, presentations, etc.). Do a search for career-related topics and view videos on interviewing, resume tips, dress for success and much more. Make sure to subscribe to your favorite channels for updates and “favorite” the videos you enjoy most! Once again, be careful with the videos you add to your favorites; they should be appropriate and professional.
Subscribe to the Toppel Career Center Channel
Write and/or Comment on a Blog or Write Reviews
Consider starting a blog about a topic you’re passionate about. Show your creativity and enthusiasm but stay away from controversial or inappropriate topics. Also, make sure to monitor the comments people make so you can remove questionable ones. Visit other blogs and comment on them; invite them to visit your blog. Write reviews on items purchased at places such as Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Overstock.com, etc. Why? These help to improve your writing skills which can then be viewed by employers who Google you!
A Few Things to Keep In Mind:
- Social media is what YOU make of it. It’s not enough to simply create profile and rarely log on. Use them effectively and give advice just as much as you ask for it.
- Be careful with what you or your friends post online. Do not post information, pictures, or videos that you wouldn’t want a potential employer (or family member) to see. Talk to your friends and ask them to not post information or pictures of you without your prior consent.
- Google yourself frequently or set up a Google alert. It’s best to catch potentially damaging information sooner rather than later. Be prepared to respond if something questionable about you is brought up during an interview!
- If you have “digital dirt” that you can’t delete, start adding lots of positive and professional content immediately. Potential employers are less likely to uncover your dirt if it’s buried on page 15 of a Google search!