Loyola University Maryland

The Career Center

Your Online Professional Image

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It is vital that you have a professional appearance both in person and online when conducting a job search. According to a recent Career Builder survey, 45% of employers are using social networking sites to conduct research on prospective employees.

Tips to Remember:

  • Use caution when posting information on the Internet. Do not post anything online that you would not want a prospective boss to see.
  • Google your name to determine your online presence. What kind of personal information do you have on the Internet? Have you posted something recently on Amazon? Facebook? Youtube? A blog? My Space?
  • Do you have negative content posted online, also called “digital dirt?” Examples of this could include: inappropriate photographs, content about drinking or doing drugs, a negative post about a professor or a previous boss, radical political views, or discriminatory comments.
  • If you have negative “digital dirt,” and you cannot delete it, enhance it by creating new, positive, smart content. Employers are less likely to find your digital dirt if it is on page 10 of their Google search for you.

Perils of Social Networking

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Download Quick Tips (PDF)

Six Steps to Positively Enhance Your Online Image:

  1. Set up a LinkedIn Profile

    LinkedIn is an online professional networking site used by more than 53 million people in 200 countries. It allows you to connect with other professionals who may be doing something you are interested in pursuing. You can join groups such as The Career Center at Loyola University or Loyola Alumni groups to increase your connections. You will be amazed at how many people you know not only through your connections, but your connections’ connections! Get more information on Networking Professionally (PDF) and Building a Professional Profile (PDF). Visit LinkedIn's new userstudent, or job seekers guide for tips and more information.
  2. Have a clean Facebook Profile
    If you want to reserve Facebook for your personal life and close friends only, make sure you set your privacy settings so that you cannot be found on a Google search. Find out how to set your privacy settings. However, if you are ever considering applying for a job that will involve obtaining some level of security clearance, the privacy settings will not matter.
  3. Set up a Twitter Account
    It's a misconception that Twitter is only about what people are having for breakfast. It all depends on who you follow! There are industry leaders, recruiters, and Fortune 500 companies on Twitter, and they are tweeting important material relevant to their business and/or industry. See a list of the top 50 employers using Twitter for recruiting. Or, do a search for a company you are interested in to see if they are tweeting. 
    Sign up for Twitter by choosing a professional username and profile. You only have 140 characters to do this, so be clear and succinct about what you do and where you are located. Once your profile is complete, start following people who are tweeting things that are interesting to you. If you decide to start tweeting, make sure you keep it clean and do not give out private information. Anyone can follow you on Twitter, so do not talk about anything personal that you would not want a stranger to know. (For example, talking about when you will be going on vacation, where you will be going out that night, when you will be leaving your house, etc.). Learn how to use Twitter as a job search tool.
    Some career-related tweeters include: LoyolaCareerCtr, Collegetocareer, Newgradlife, Internabroad, Monstercollege, Careerealism, Internships, Goingglobal, Vaultcareers, and Gradversity
  4. Comment on a blog or forum in a positive, non-controversial way, or create your own professional blog
  5. Write a book or product review on websites such as Amazon.com or Overstock.com
    Remember to use excellent communication skills because a prospective employer will be able to read anything you write online!
  6. Google Alerts
    Set up a Google Alert so you will get an email anytime your name shows up on the internet. If you discover something online that you want to eliminate, you can try Google's URL removal tool. You will most likely be more successful if you contact the site directly. Go to the Contact or About page and email/call to politely ask for your information to be removed.

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