Remember, nothing on the web is private

A carefully crafted professional image can be quickly destroyed with an inappropriate photo or blog entry. If you have a social media presence, such as a profile on Facebook or Twitter, you need to be especially careful of the information placed on your profile as these sites are widely used and open for public consumption. As you prepare to start your professional life, be sure to review your online persona from a prospective employer’s point of view.

  • Think of your profile as your public relations tool. Use it to present your accomplishments and creativity, not to settle scores and attack others.
  • Google yourself occasionally. Even better, consider signing up for a Google Alert - it will tell you when your name is mentioned online.
  • Make sure that your social networking profiles (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) are all set to the highest privacy setting.  Hint – Facebook has a tendency to change these without warning and they reset them to public settings.
  • Be careful whom you decide to “friend” on your account.
  • Edit what your friends write on your “Wall.” You can and will be held accountable for their actions when it comes to your job.
  • Before posting a comment online, consider these suggestions:
    • What would my Grandparents think about what I’m about to say?
    • Don’t write anything on someone else’s profile that can come back to haunt you.
    • Avoid trashing your current or former employers online. If you have a lousy boss or an obnoxious co-worker, vent to your family and friends in person.
  • Lastly, always use a professional looking email address - i.e., use your account. You do not want to be associated with email addresses like imstoned311 or beerguzzler19 as part of your ever important first impression.
  • Know what potential employers can find out about you. Take a look at this handout.

Make the web work for you

  • Consider creating a personal web site specifically related to your job search. Include your resume, writing/artistic samples, your portfolio, and any certifications. Use only professional and academic information.
  • Start a blog related to your career interests. For example, if you are interested in a career in real estate, consider blogging about industry trends, news and related topics. Sites like WordPress offer free blogging tools.

Handout: What potential employers can find

Before you graduate, know what potential employers can find out about you and how you might be able to clean up some of it.
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