5 Tips for Improving Your Online Presence for Students
By Melissa Burns
Such things as social networks, personal blogs and websites, accounts on forums and suchlike are no longer your personal business – as recruiters grow more and more tech-savvy the importance of having widespread and professional-looking online presence gets more and more important for every student who thinks about his or her future employment. Online presence can make favorable impression on a potential employer even before he ever sees you. Let’s take a look at how it is done.
1. Establish Accounts in Multiple Places
If your online identity is limited to Facebook, you should reconsider it. It is not a professional network, and if you have an account here and not, let’s say, LinkedIn, it shows that you pay more attention to personal matters than to professional ones. So, think about other social media where you should promote your name. The aforementioned LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr and Behance immediately come to mind.
2. Create a Hub and Interconnect Your Accounts
All your accounts in social media, personal websites and blogs (if you have them) should be carefully interconnected and be consistent enough so that will make it obvious that all of them belong to one and the same person. There should also be a website to serve as a kind of hub – you can give a link to it when you apply for a job so that your potential employer can easily find it. About.me is a good choice – it was created specifically for this purpose, it is widely known and is used by people coming from all walks of life, not only students looking for future employments, but also CEOs, senior partners in firms and well-known businessmen and specialists, like, for example, Doctor Shahram Shirkhani.
3. Google Your Name
It is the first thing a potential employer will do. See what they are going to see. If it is lackluster, do your best to improve it. If there is something outright negative – take it down. You may have forgotten that drunken selfie you’ve posted three years ago, but Google remembers everything. According to Microsoft survey, 79% of employers in the USA check Internet identities of applicants to their jobs, and 70% admit that they refused people jobs based on what they’ve found. And we don’t just mean naked photos, drunken antics and suchlike. Jokes, silly gifs, offensive language – everything that an employer may find inconsistent with an image of their employee is a bad idea to have around.
4. Keep Your Online Presence Consistent with Your Profession
Some social media are more suitable for certain jobs, some are less. If you are a designer, photographer or artist, accounts on Pinterest or Flickr will do just nicely. If you are a lawyer… not very much so. These specialized websites may be used to host not just pretty pictures, but your portfolio – it is much easier to direct people to a well-known website than send it via e-mail or use a website of your own on a free hosting.
5. Start a Blog
Naturally, it should have something to do with your preferred field of work, which means that it should not be an outlet for your rants on personal matters – if you want to write something like this, by all means, do it, but separately from your professional blog and under a pseudonym.
Online presence can do you both a world of good and a world of hurt, depending on how you approach it. Play your cards right, and even without any experience, fresh out of college you will produce a good enough impression for even a large company to consider hiring you.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she
is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, inf