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Leadership, News, The Facts|March 28, 2011 4:22 pm

Grooming Your Online Profile

By now, most college students have heard that it is of dire importance that you clip your nails, wash your hair, and dress professionally before you show up for an interview.  I mean, would you show up to an interview for the management position at the Bank of Moneysworth in flip flops, shorts, and a bandana?  Just as you prepare for an interview, and consider the appropriateness of your attire before you head out, it is important to consider your on-line image.

You’ve heard the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” well, today it is a little less true.  With Facebook, twitter, and blogging, doors to everyone’s personal life have been opened.  It is important to remember that “What happens in Vegas, Panama City, Cancun….Stays on Facebook!”   This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t post any pictures or share your information, but be cautious and monitor what you say and do.

Everyone goes to the beach or on vacation, so sharing those picture isn’t necessarily wrong.  Just use common sense not to upload your or any of your friends’ pictures that could be considered submissions to Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition on Facebook or Linkedin.  You may want to think of your future job positions when you’re posting sensual pictures that leave little for the imagination, and leave those for your personal collection.  Not to mention, you should remember who you have on your Facebook friend list.  Keep in mind that your little cousins or family members, friends, or co-workers possibly check out your profile from time to time, and might consider you as a role model; therefore, it is important to monitor both the photos and the verbiage you use online.

As stated, grooming your online presence includes being vigilant of verbiage you post or link to your profile.  For instance, even though you might enjoy a hearty brew on your weekend evenings, it might not be in your best interest to “like” groups such as I’m the King of Kegs or Drink till ya drunk.  It might not give the best impressions of your lifestyle or personality to future employers or students and professionals on your campus that see you as a leader.  In addition, just as it should be considered inappropriate to say jokes that are discriminatory Don’t relinquish your opportunities for scholarships, job opportunities, grad school admissions, or campus positions because you think you might get a laugh out of your Facebook friends.

There are too many stories out there about people losing their jobs, their families, their reputations because of Facebook.  There is even a page on Facebook – I kid you not – entitled “I lost my job because of Facebook.”  Although you’re immediate boss may not tweet or have a Facebook page, just know that gossip always has a way of getting around.  Use integrity when utilizing online sources, and think before you upload or post.

Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin can be great resources for making connections, and building your online presence.  They can assist with getting in touch with old friends, networking your group, reaching out to your college body, publicizing social events or news articles, or getting a job.  Take advantage of these resources and utilize them to the utmost for building your reputation, but build the right reputation, and keep a clean image as a student leader.  With the sluggish recovery of the economy, and increasing unemployment rates, ensure that your online appearance is clean, welcoming, and trustworthy, in order to put your best self forward without jeopardizing future opportunities, friendships or relationships.

Additional tips to remember when grooming your online presence:

-When you do register for a Linkedin account, complete it for your advantage.  This is an online source for uploading your resume, and creating your own business network.  Build your profile 100%, add your resume, and request past colleagues for recommendations for additional content to include on your profile (if it is positive recommendations of course).   Companies and people tend to appreciate a photo on Linkedin, rather than a blank profile face, so upload a professional picture to make your profile more personable.

-If you haven’t already, establish an appropriate email addresses that can be utilized for school functions or job applications.  Emails such as CrazyLady2011@yahoo.com or Hotdude4u@gmail.com are not going to give a great impression.

-Hide posts from friends that use vulgarity or crude speech, so your Facebook wall doesn’t look like the inside of a bathroom stall.

-Attempt to use proper grammar.  Obviously this doesn’t mean that you have to have your journalist friend proofread your thoughts, prior to posting, but try to keep information clear and concise.  You can get a negative reputation if you consistently write inefficiently.

-Remember Myspace?  Well the internet does.  Make sure that all of your online profiles are either revamped, cleaned up, or deleted.

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