Considerations about your Online Presence
We know you probably spend some time on the internet whether it is social media, email, building your own website, reviewing books, etc. and these are the activities that create our “Online Presence.” Most of us have an “Online Presence” whether we realize it or not. The following tips are to help you either cultivate an online presence that is positive and appealing to recruiters or perhaps motivate you to jump on the internet and explore what is “out there” associated with your name(s), likeness, and/or images.
- First Things First: The first thing you need to know is that you are “out there.” Whether you Tweet multiples times each hour or you’ve never touched a web browser, you are on the internet. Home sales, court cases, addresses, cell phone directories, published papers, 5K run results/photos, restaurant reviews, etc. etc. are often published on the internet. Sometimes hand written feedback you’ve given at a training or conference has been used, with your name, on a website. So everyone should Google their name(s) and all previous variations of your name to see what “pops” up in the results. Hopefully you’re not too surprised from the outcome but either way, this is a good step to take a few times each year so that you can stay aware of what your name(s) is being associated with…and what a recruiter might find if your name(s) is searched.
- Your Footprints: Almost everything you put online stays out there somewhere, even after you think you deleted it/took down the page/cleared the history. This means that nearly anyone - employers, references, etc. - can see it. Items that need to be tracked, reviewed, and corrected if needed include questionable photos, potentially offensive comments or criticisms, tags to other people’s photos, etc. If this involves someone else’s web page or Twitter account, be prepared to politely request that they remove the questionable item of concern. A reasonable person will understand your motivation.
- Your Image or Likeness: Photos taken for social or dating sites, cartooned images, Snapchat modified images, etc. are not appropriate for a professional networking site on any portal or directory you use while job searching. Yes, that includes Facebook and Instagram. Always assume the first photo a recruiter sees of you is the one he/she/they will recall throughout your application process so make sure that first impression is a good one!
- #DontDoThis: The hashtag is meant to draw attention to something for very specific reasons—be selective when using them. Hashtags SHOULD make sense to a recruiter or corporation so avoid making up hashtags that are meant to be witty as they may not be understood or ever noticed. A good use of hashtagging is using one common to your industry such as #SAPro – this is a common and known hashtag for people who work in college student services such as advising or residence hall management.
- Maintenance Will Be Needed: Don't start an account and forget about it! Keeping up with your social media accounts can be time-consuming especially if you don’t enjoy it so be selective as you open accounts, check in a few times each week, and – this is important – respond to anyone who has interacted with you. It looks better to prospective employers to stay active on two or three sites than to be all over the internet in a superficial way.
- You Are Now Your Own Public Relations Consultant: Take your job or internship search and the reality of your online presence seriously! If there is something out there about you that is wrong or not appropriate, it’s time to resolve that issue. If you don’t own a professional photo of yourself, look into a headshot somewhere where passport photos are taken or ask a friend who has a good camera to take a few head shots of you in a well-lit, interesting location, while you are dressed up. Finally, pay attention to the quality of what you “put out there” so half written blogs, semi-populated LinkedIn profiles, or empty ePortfolios need to either be taken down or completed!
As always, if you have ANY questions about this, we would like to hear from you so please contact us at 773-508-7716.