Online Brand – Social Capital – Identity Management – What’s It All Mean?
Your online brand or identity is defined by any and all online information that exists about you, whether you personally created it or not. Social networking sites, including Facebook, are part of your public image. The material you post and the things you write will influence an employer's or graduate schools’ impression of you, for better or for worse. Know what is out there with your name on it. If you can Google it, or You Tube it, so can someone else.
Check Your Current Online Brand – What’s It Say About You?
Find out what already exists online and then ask yourself some important questions.
- Is each public e-mail address professional?
- Does your voicemail message sound professional?
- Google yourself: Are you comfortable with an employer or graduate school seeing what you found?
- For social networking sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) to which you belong: Would you be comfortable if an employer or graduate school were to see your profile? Photos? Groups? Comments? Friends’ comments? Friends’ profiles? Are you tagged in any photos online? Would you want an employer or graduate school to see them?
- Have you ever discussed a company, graduate school, faculty member, interview, job, supervisor, etc. on your blog site? Are you comfortable with an employer or graduate school seeing what you have written and/or compiled?
- Happy with it? Great! Not so impressed? Read further…
Cleaning UP Your Online Identity
Cleaning up your online identity is something that no one will notice until you DON’T do it!
Ok. So what you saw about you online put you in a tailspin. First, start to target potential problems you’ve identified and clean them up. Identify the easier areas to address first, like your own Facebook profile and blog, then tackle the tougher ones like contacting friends regarding the embarrassing photos in which you are tagged. There are some pieces that are a part of the public record and can't be removed, like police logs and newspaper articles. If there is information on the web that you would rather employers or schools not see, you must be particularly diligent in building your brand on high traffic sites so that less flattering information will appear lower on a Google search.
Additional RESOURCE: Fixing a faulty social media reputation from the National Career Development Association
Build Your Brand
Now that you know what’s out there, and have worked to clean up your image, you are ready to begin proactively building your brand.
The simplest step you can take to guarantee that the first Google link with your name on it is professional is to create a LinkedIn profile. Don’t know what that is or how to proceed? No worries! The CPRC offers LinkedIn workshops and drop-in sessions to help you strategically build your profile and network while teaching you how to work it. Many employers use LinkedIn as part of their recruiting strategy to connect with active job seekers and passive candidates who are currently employed.
There are a number of SBU LinkedIn groups that can help you jump-start your LinkedIn professional network. For more information about LinkedIn and tips to set up your profile, go to http://www.linkedin.com
Another option is to create a professional portfolio with your resume and samples of your work on St. Bonaventure University’s College Central Network.
Social Media in the News….
Requiring Logins/Passwords Violates NACE Principles
National Association for Colleges & Employers. 4.11.2012
NACE's position: the practice by employers of asking job candidates to provide social media password/login information as a condition of employment or candidacy is a violation of ethical standards. Read more
Standards of Professional Conduct
In your job search, whether for an internship, co-op position or other during-college experience, and for a job after graduation, standards of professional conduct apply to all aspects of the search: your documents, all your communication and interactions with employers, including in person, in writing and verbal, AND including your online presence.