Class is in no longer in session. I graduated from Western Washington University on March 17, 2012. That date marked the end of my college career. Grueling study sessions, intricate projects, pricey textbooks and lovely exams filled the last 6 years of my life. Now, I start on a clean palette and transition into the technologically inclined world. I have created my own “Online Presence Homework” as a recent graduate in order to prepare for a job.
What is “Online Presence?”
Online Presence is information, photos and posts connected to you and your identity on the Internet. It’s become a norm in the job market for employers to search for employee candidates on the Internet to find out more about them – and can be the breaking point if they find something negative and unprofessional. When employers input “Christina Crea” into Google, Bing, or any other search engine, I want them to be impressed.
My Online Presence Homework
1) Facebook, Twitter, Google+: On my social networking websites, I want to make sure my profiles are “clean.” I make sure my photos and status updates are appropriate and intelligent. The majority of my posts include current events, articles (which fits since I am a journalist), my family and adventures throughout my week. I also monitor what my friends say; I will delete it if it’s inappropriate. I also include my professional website links and information because social media is a key way to network professionally online. An internal test I have when I post anything is to imagine my future supervisor looking at it.
2) LinkedIn & WordPress Website: For my professional websites, my main goal is to show employers what skills I have and why I stand out as a job candidate. On my website, I showcase “clips” of work (articles, photojournalism, design) as well as my resume, past recommendation letters and current reference list. I want my website to be a positive extension of a cover letter, application and resume. My hope is when prospective employers search my name, they find extra information on my website that intrigues them to find out what I have to offer.
3) Search Myself: Every week I search my name into search engines to see what pops up. Recently, I found my name to be associated with an old social networking website I joined when I was 15 years old. There was nothing bad on the website, but I didn’t want my 15-year-old self still being portrayed on the Internet when I am currently 21 years old. I deleted my account but my photo connected to the website kept showing up for the next few weeks because of the “cache,” which is the Internet’s memory of a website. It’s important to know what is being said about you online.
Monitoring my online presence is a key aspect prior, during and after my job search. My advice to future graduates is to start “cleaning up” your online presence now (yes, that means deleting inappropriate party photos and status updates complaining about classes, work, etc.) and keeping your online presence professional. I believe you can still have a unique presence online that is still professional and tasteful. If done early, you’ll already be ahead for your online presence graduation homework. I look forward to polishing my online presence to portray a respectable and professional “me” as I apply for jobs.
I don’t have homework to turn in or exams to study for, but I am taking everything I learned in college into my future. As a college graduate, my personal homework will be keeping a positive online presence. The exam is what employers think when they “see” me online.
Christina Crea is a March 2012 college graduate from Western Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and and minor in Journalism: Visual Concentration. She has ample experience with reporting, photojournalism, editing, communication, advertising, design and management experience. She will continue applying my skills through freelance work and job opportunities. For more information about Christina, please refer to her website http://christinacrea.wordpress.com.