1.  What is visible to the public, to employers, and to potential references? When managing your online identity be aware that whatever is visible on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site, must be appropriate for any current or future employer to see.  Just one inappropriate tweet, update, or pinned photo can cause repercussions for your long-term career.  On Facebook you can click “View As” on your main profile page under the “Settings” drop down.

2.  Depending on what your position is, is it may be important to have a presence on certain sites? For seeking communications positions, it is important to show that you are knowledgeable about current social media trends.  Staying up-to-date with online sites can show your ability to manage change.  While it may not be necessary for you to be on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest, having your presence certainly has its benefits.  LinkedIn is especially useful to recruiters.

3.  What is your online reputation?  Do you have a positive, negative, or neutral presence online? Your online reputation can range from positive to negative and inappropriate.  Be aware of how you come across on the internet.  While having a negative online reputation will certainly work against you, having a neutral presence won’t help you either.  In creating an online identity, be cognizant of how you want to come across to coworkers, future employers, and people you haven’t even met.  Social media allows us to create our own marketable versions of ourselves, take advantage of that.  Create a Google Alert for your name to track what is being said about you online.

4.  How do people interact with you and how do you interact with people online? The people that you interact with on social media sites reflect who you are.  How often you interact with people on these sites also speaks to what kind of person you are.  Social media sites, especially Facebook, but to a lesser extent Twitter, can paint a picture of you as an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between.  These sites might pigeonhole you as a social butterfly, or as a shut-in.  If you allow your content to be displayed, make sure that your interactions, and how often you interact, will benefit your image.  Klout is a good way to see an overview of how you interact with others online.

5.  What do you show interest in online? Don’t “like” anything detrimental to your image, and make sure to showcase what makes you unique.  What pages you like on Facebook, whom you follow on Twitter, and what you tweet about all reflect who you are and what your interests are.  Don’t showcase an aspect of yourself that you don’t want other people to know about, but also show what makes you unique.  Facebook privacy settings allow you to block content from some and not others by the creation of lists.

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