Whether you are job searching or not, it is essential that your online image is professional and polished. More than ever, employers are going online
to recruit new hires and gather information on potential and current employees. Use the information on this page to give your online image a professional "make-over".
Clean It Up
The first step of polishing your online image is to clean up your existing web presence. Delete inactive accounts that you no longer use and remove any potentially damaging content (photos, videos, text, etc.) that may offend employers. Also ask your online connections to remove any inappropriate content about you from their sites; request that they refrain from posting similar content in the future. Use common sense: if an employer printed off the content of your profile and laid it out before you, would you feel comfortable discussing what they found? Once you have cleared out all your "junk", revisit your account and privacy settings; limit who can find you and what others can see.
Now that your existing profiles have been cleaned up, you should add professional content to your online presence. You can add information to existing accounts or create new ones to be used strictly for professional purposes. Before you do anything else, take some time to do some "personal branding"; brainstorm unique talents, qualities, knowledge, and accomplishments that will make you an asset to potential employers. Then, as if you were marketing a commercial product, develop a strategy to promote your brand to your professional audience. Visit sites like PersonalBrandingBlog.com
to learn more about the personal branding process.
Once you have developed your personal branding strategy, put it into action. Consider the following techniques:
- Establish a presence on websites where you know professionals in your field tend to "hang out". Create profiles on these sites and interact with other members on discussion boards, wiki spaces, and blogs.
- Complete a profile on LinkedIn, a professional networking site that helps you connect with those you know and those you want to know. Follow these helpful guides on how to build a complete profile and how to network effectively on the site; a how-to video is posted to the right as well. Use these examples to help you build your network through LinkedIn.
- More helpful LinkedIn resources: LinkedIn Etiquette, Find Your Career Passion, LinkedIn Checklist: 10 Online Job Hunting Tips
- Create a professional blog of your own where you can share professional aspirations, track your job search process, and highlight special accomplishments or projects you might want employers to know about. Sites like Blogger.com and WordPress.com are great tools for this.
Be sure you are promoting any professional profiles or blogs in your email signatures, on your resume, on business cards, etc.
Maintain Your Image
Now that you have created a professional online image, you'll need to maintain it. Update your professional accounts regularly (at least 1-2 times weekly) so that content is constantly evolving and interesting for readers to follow. If you didn't already ask your connections to support your "online make-over" efforts, do so now. Finally, be sure to do a Google search for your name regularly (at least twice monthly); this will keep you up to date on what employers might find when they search for you online.
Now that your online image is polished and professional, take advantage of online resources that help you network with potential employers, fellow job seekers, and other career "allies". Check out our Online Networking page
to learn more!
Online Image Consultation
Need help jump-starting your web make-over? Call to make an appointment with a UCC Career Coach, at 785-864-3624.