Career in the Age of the Internet
Your presence online is the first impression potential employers may have of you. Your online image is part of your professional image. Putting your best foot forward online is just as important as preparing for your first interview. In today’s climate, managing your online image is more important than ever!
If you avoid the potential pitfalls, the internet and social networking can be great tools in establishing and growing your career. From networking with other professionals to finding a job, there is a wealth of opportunity out there for those who use it well.
Managing Your Online Image
- Google Yourself. Do you know what currently exists on the internet about you? It is important to know what others can find by searching for you online. Put your full name in quotations in order to find links to yourself. Look through what you find- does it project the image that you want potential employers to see? If not, see if you can remove or edit content to be more consistent with your professional image.
- Check Your Social Media. The majority of employers state that they visit the social media pages of potential hires. Review your social media account to make sure that what you post is either private or professional. Is your profile picture appropriate? Do you post comments in public groups that could be offensive? Employers are particularly turned off by postings that include drug use, sexual content, discrimination or profanity, and negativity about past jobs/bosses/professors.
- Review your privacy settings. While privacy settings are not a guarantee that employers won’t be able to view your content, they can offer some level of security. It is important to understand the privacy settings on each social media platform that you use. For example, Twitter and Facebook have different ways of sharing your content and of being searched.
- Create a positive presence online. While it might feel easiest just to remove any public trace of yourself from the internet, that isn’t the answer. In today’s world, social networking can be a positive tool for job connections. Therefore, spend some time creating positive content about yourself online.
Professional Networking Sites
There are a wide range of social and professional networking websites, and they each have their own purpose. All of these choices can leave people confused and asking, what are the best sites to use as tools when trying to get a job and establish a professional identity? In order to pick the best sites for you, it is important to ask a few questions:
- Who does it target? (Employers, job seekers, young people)
- What is the intent? (Why do people use it?)
- What are the results? (What outcomes often happen from using it)
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a professional networking site designed to connect people on a professional level. LinkedIn has over 400 million members. It allows you to post a resume-like profile, find and connect with others, learn about companies, and discover job opportunities. LinkedIn targets professionals from all over the globe and companies who want to hire them. People use LinkedIn to network with each other, share news, and look for employees.
When using LinkedIn, be sure to include a professional profile photo. This is a perfect place to make a great first impression. You can customise your profile with a headline or summary that speaks to your interests and talents. Use the tools offered to create a professional resume. Use your LinkedIn account to build connections with people that you know on a professional level: field placement supervisors, colleagues, professors, and mentors.
Seek is the largest employment and recruitment website in Australia. It allows you to post a profile and to search for jobs. Seek offers a customised search function to easily broaden or narrow your job search and to find similar jobs you may have missed. You can also easily sign up for automatic emails anytime a job matching your search profile is posted.
Seek offers career and job searching tips, including articles about resumes and cover letters, salary and job trends, and career advice. Users can also write
reviews of employers, which are available for job seekers to search and read.
Facebook was once seen as a fun, personal platform for sharing with friends and family. It is now often used as a tool for companies to share information, market their business, and even post job openings. Follow organisations that you are interested in and you may hear first about a job or internship opportunity.
As you enter the workforce, it is more important than ever to do an audit of your profile. Remember that your profile picture and cover photo are likely visible to everyone. Make your Facebook page even more professional by entering your work and education history in the “About Me” section.
Turn the Tables
There is a good chance that someone at the job you’ve applied for has researched you online. Turn the tables and use the internet to research them! Websites, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all great places to learn about the company that posted the job you are applying for. Checking the company’s Facebook page or current events gives you lots of great information about what is important to them and what they may be looking for in a job candidate.
A Final Thought
Social media can be a great tool for building your professional image and for building a business. As an Ikon graduate, you are likely entering a helping profession, which brings with it additional ethical considerations when using social media. Being in a helping profession means it is more important than ever to separate your personal and your professional image online. This is not only to protect yourself and your own boundaries, but to protect your future clients as well.
A rewarding career awaits you, and we'd love to help you along the path.
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