So you have recently graduated or are on the search for work. You have put years of work into countless assignments, essays & exams - working towards a goal of completing your university degree with the aim of beginning your working career. Or perhaps you are a school leaver looking to enter the workforce for the first time?
In anticipation of landing that great job with your dream employer, this is the time for you to focus on enhancing your image online. There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that your personal online brand doesn't put you at risk of being overlooked for that awesome position.
You need know that your potential employer is going to look you up online and even if they don't, it is prudent to prepare as if they will. All it takes is to type a few little words into Google and BAM they see everything about you, good and bad.
This is where is it important to have a presence online - I recommend that you look to secure your own domain name and place a personal website there. This gives you a place to control & create your own brand. With the excellent and reasonably priced solutions available maintaining a personal website is easier now more than ever before.
The reason behind doing a vanity search is, that it allows you to see what other potential employers will see. If there are negative posts out there about you, there isn't much you can to do get them taken down. However by creating your own space online you have the power to promote yourself positively and de-emphasise the negative content.
While those years of late nights and college parties have been enjoyable, it might be worth considering whether these images in your Facebook, Instagram & Twitter accounts are going to compromise your image of reliability and maturity.
It may be time to consider removing incriminating images or reviewing your social media privacy settings. This is all about controlling the way the world perceives you - you are creating a personal brand and image. This is not about faking it, or covering up your individuality. Review the personal bio's on these platforms and see if it may be time to re-write any of them. Generally take a bit of time to curate the content you have control over to maximise the image it portrays.
This is something so simple, yet so overlooked. There is definitely nothing wrong with keeping that funny hotmail address that you created in junior high - but lets leave it for the purpose of communicating with friends and family.
To enhance your professional image it is advisable to use a simple yet personal email address, the best way to do this is to use a service like Gmail to create a new email address using your name e.g firstname.lastname@example.org.
To take this step to the next level you could add an email service to the personal domain name that you purchased for you new website. This takes your professional image to the next level, and gives you an email that you can continue to use so you are not locked into any particular ISP - for example email@example.com. That way if you change from one internet service to another, or decide to stop using Gmail to switch to the next big thing you don't have to start over and tell everyone your email address all over again.
If you haven't already done so, now is the time for you to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a business oriented social network, a powerful place to connect with others you know and maintain connections with people you meet.
A powerful reason to use LinkedIn is to find and form connections with people you know, who in turn are able to connect you with other people you are yet to meet or who can endorse your skills and abilities. Now may be a great time to form connections with professors and lecturers that you have come to know as in years to come if you ask them to endorse you run the risk that they won't remember you or may not feel as compelled to endorse you - think of this as being a little like a reference on a resume.
LinkedIn can also serve as an online resume, so it is important to continually update your profile with new skills as you acquire them and update your work history and qualifications. If your profile is maintained on a regular consistent basis, you will always have an up to date CV plus it won't be blatantly obvious to your peers when you start looking for work as you frantically update your profile.
In summary, as you finish up your schooling or university life work take just a little time to do some housekeeping on your online branding to ensure it puts you in the best position for the position.
- Google Yourself - how do you appear to others online?
- Create your own online space - buy a domain and start a personal website
- Tidy up your Social Media - do a little curating of content
- Email - ditch the old, create a professional & personal new address
- Get familiar with LinkedIn and start networking for the future
Of course - best of luck with your job hunting, we hope you land that dream job!!