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Free - On the App Store

Q: I’m a recent college grad who’s looking for my first real job. I know companies are looking at my online presence, but I don’t know what they’re looking for. What can I do to make my online presence an asset?

A: Employers are definitely using social media to screen and hire potential candidates. Therefore, what the Internet says about you matters. There’s no one way to build an online presence to land a job because it differs among industries, experience level, and type of company you’re targeting. However, there are some guidelines that can help every job seeker.

Here are some dos and don’ts from United Texas Credit Union for perfecting your online presence:

1.) Don’t let your online presence contradict your resume.

It’s cathartic to blast a “terrible project” you finished or your “stupid boss” on Facebook. But if that project’s an accomplishment listed on your resume or your boss is a reference, think before posting. Similarly, make sure nothing in your profile contradicts your resume.

2.) Do stay current in your field.

Professional social media sites like LinkedIn and Google+ are great places to build a positive online presence. Your LinkedIn audience is only interested in your professional standing. You can demonstrate that you’re staying current with an emerging subject.

Share articles from professional publications and associations. Participate in discussions about them with others in your field. It’s also a great way to build connections with professionals.

3.) Don’t show off your wild side in your online presence.

Screen your pictures carefully for signs of hard partying. Check your privacy settings on personal social media sites like Facebook to control the image you present.

4.) Do let your network know you’re looking.

Tell family and friends you’re looking for work because this can prompt them to share leads and contacts with you. 94% of companies surveyed plan to use social media to recruit new employees.

Furthermore, let friends employed at companies you’re watching know you’re job hunting. They may be privy to job openings and can explain the application process. This can help you tailor an application and get the best chances at the position.

5.) Don’t sound desperate.

Avoid getting desperate with the occupation fields on social media sites. Therefore, give yourself the title you want. If you see yourself in sales, call yourself a salesperson. If you possess a diverse set of skills, title yourself a “communications expert” or “data nerd.”

Don’t be afraid to refer to yourself as “self-employed,” because it’s important to account for your time unemployed.

6.) Do target companies on social media.

“Liking” companies you’re interested in is a great way to stay up-to-date on information about them. This serves two benefits:

  1. It lets you know about job openings at the company. If they’re launching a new product line, they’ll likely be doing some hiring, making it a good time to write a letter to the decision-makers.
  2. It’ll help you out in the interview, with that company, and in the entire field. You’ll know how this company sells itself and what makes it unique. This will help you craft convincing cover letters and answer tough interview questions.

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