Consider it your first interview.
“It” is what comes up when a potential employer types your name into a search engine or social networking site. Research reveals that more than one-third of employers now conduct online pre-interview searches of potential employees, to either screen out candidates or to prepare for interviews.
That means that these days, having a great resume just isn’t good enough. Job seekers in today’s market have to also consider their online presence – the information that can be gathered about them from readily available internet sources.
That doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't have an online presence – it means that, as much as possible, you should be in control of the profile of you that can be pieced together with information on the internet.
“Job seekers must be prepared to put their best digital foot forward,” says FLC's Social Media Coordinator Lindsay Nyquist.
And Nyquist is there to help FLC students take those steps toward online presences that will help them rather than hinder them, or worse. Through her position as Social Media Coordinator in the Marketing & Communications Department, Nyquist strives to educate the campus community about how best to use social media for their personal and professional needs.
“There are two approaches to having a successful online presence,” Nyquist explains. “One part is suppressing or fixing information that may be negative, which is what most people focus on. The other part is strengthening your positive presence, which is a much more fun thing to work toward.”
Basically, Nyquist advises, “Take control. Create a profile that is positive and accurate.” She suggests three online clean-up tasks:
- Research: Search for yourself online as an employer might, and see what picture of yourself you discover.
- Edit and polish: If you find things you don't like, figure out how to change or remove them whenever possible.
- Improve: Change how and what you post online, and find new sites and avenues for getting positive messages about yourself out there.
One example of where students in particular can boost their online professional image is through LinkedIn, today’s leading professional social network. On this platform, students can list their job experience and skills, along with language fluency, projects, volunteer experience, and more. They can also seek recommendations from professors or employers that can be displayed as part of their public profile.
To help get positive messages about student online and on social media, FLC also works with a site called readabout.me to publish press releases about student accomplishments. These stories live in online profiles for each student and are also sent to the student’s hometown newspaper. FLC currently publicizes more than 40 types of accomplishments, including students who make the Dean’s List, who study abroad, who win academic or athletic awards, who present at conferences, and more.
“Looking the other way isn’t a good solution,” Nyquist adds. “The job seekers who will have the best online presence are those who have put some effort into it.”
For more help or information on improving your online presence, contact Lindsay Nyquist or FLC Career Services.