Ah graduation season. The best time in a young person’s life; between leaving a place of independence and stepping into the real world for your first chance at building your professional career. While many college students are currently preparing for the real world at this point (hopefully), most seniors are more focused on acing their final exams before graduation as opposed to cleaning up their act in the online world.
So, what’s the problem here? Well… since just about everyone has an online history, that means that everything you’ve done, especially in the past four years in college, is probably readily available with a simple Google search. Before beginning your full-time job search, here are some critical steps you need to take in order to clean up your online presence.
The first key step to preparing your online presence for the professional world is to have a good understanding of what your privacy settings are. Not only are there a variety of settings on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, but you need to think back to any profile you’ve created online throughout your entire life. While that might be a hard task to tackle, it needs to be done.
Another important tactic when changing your privacy settings is to make sure you don’t completely block out anyone from seeing anything about you. It’s important to find that happy medium between showing just enough about you for potential employers to see but not everything. Employers like to see that you’re involved in social media and have a positive presence, but we don’t want to see anything inappropriate that could show bad judgement. Keep it classy and find your happy medium.
Make appropriate updates to your profiles
Once you’re about to graduate from college, I would hope that you have a composed resume ready to go. With that said, everything that’s written on your resume should also be reflected in your online profiles. From your age to where you’re graduating from, make sure that your profiles are fully updated. By having social media, it’s also a great way to endorse your skills. Whether you’re a designer and upload images often or you’re a talented writer and like to share your latest blog posts, use this to your advantage!
Be aware of your content
The most important thing I learned in my senior year of college was to be extremely cautious of what I was posting to my social media channels. Not only is it important to monitor what friends are posting about you, but you also need to be aware of your tone in the content you’re posting. I hate to break it to you, but employers don’t want to see you complaining about how much you don’t feel like studying for your next exam or worse, how difficult it is for you to work on a group project. Think of it in terms of the professional world. Would you want to hire someone who complains about having to work hard or work with others? The answer is no, so don’t portray yourself that way.
Change profile pictures
You might love your sorority sisters to death, but once you start job searching, it’s probably a good idea to change your profile picture to one of just you. Having a profile picture of just yourself will help curious employers identify who you are, as opposed to trying to guess from a group of people. If you don’t have any pictures of yourself that you think would be appropriate for the professional world, have a roommate or family member take a picture of you.
The Internet is an amazing place, and as hard as it is to believe that employers are actually looking for you online, it’s happening. With that said, it’s time to stop pretending that you’re invisible online and start realizing how much about you is lurking out there in your online portfolio. Finally, congratulations to all those graduating in 2013 and good luck!