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4 Tips to Clean Up Your Online Persona

By Guest Blogger Trish Freshwater, Senior Communications Manager for Talent Acquisition at Sodexo. Originally posted on the Student Branding Blog.

Like most college students, you likely have a Facebook page and a Twitter profile. You may even have a Google+ or LinkedIn account, aiming to connect with professionals in your field. Some of you may even have a YouTube channel, a Flickr account and a collection of boards on Pinterest. So, what does this have to do with your job search? Everything.

As you move closer to graduation and your future career, you’ll want to clean up your online profiles so that prospective employers can learn more about your professional side. Here are four tips for cleaning up your online persona.

1) Adjust Privacy Settings
The important thing to know about all of these online profiles is that they’re generally public profiles, unless you’ve invoked various privacy settings. You can see what’s public very quickly by doing a Google search for your name.

Each social media site has its own unique privacy settings. Look through these settings and lock down personal photos, Pinterest boards and comments between you and your friends. Facebook, for example, offers a great option to choose who sees your updates right on the screen where you enter your comments – public, friends or another list on your account. Use these options wisely to help promote your professional interests while protecting your personal life.

2) Use Professional Profile Pics
While it’s great to show off your sweet puppy from home or a pic of you hanging with your best friend at the beach, these photos may not be the best first impression for a potential employer. Have a friend or family member take a nice headshot photo of you and use that image for your profile pictures.

3) Be Consistent
Part of building your online reputation, or personal brand, is about having a consistent “face” across all of your accounts. This means using the same profile pic, using your full name or a consistent nickname across all accounts (for example, I use “Trish” Freshwater on all of my accounts instead of my full given name “Patricia.”), list the same contact phone number and/or e-mail address on all of your accounts. Being consistent helps bring all of your profiles together to create a singular view into who you are as a person and a professional.

4) Update Your Information
From a recruiting perspective, there’s nothing worse than finding an out-of-date e-mail address or an empty LinkedIn profile. Make sure that all of your profiles are up to date and complete. This is especially important for your LinkedIn profile where recruiters will seek detailed information about your skills and experience.

Simply listing your previous job titles doesn’t tell a recruiter what you’re good at or what you’ve accomplished in the past. Add some detail to your profile to get noticed! List some projects you’ve worked on and a few notable accomplishments. For more details about your LinkedIn profile, read my earlier post here.

Social media offers a number of tools to help you search for a job and network with recruiters and other professionals. But, you need to make this space work for you on both a personal and professional level. In my next post, I’ll talk about how to build your personal brand online and expand on how you can use your “cleaned up” profiles effectively for your career.

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