Sell yourself professionally, digitally

(originally posted in the Univeristy of Manitoba’s student newspaper – the Manitoban on November 9th, 2011 by Riley Draward, former I.B. Computer Science student)

Before you read this, I want you to do something. Make sure you are alone with a computer and in a private place; it’s kind of a dirty request. All set? Great, now Google yourself. What’s the first thing that pops up, maybe your Facebook profile? While that picture of you doing a keg stand in your underwear might impress your friends, it could be the difference between getting your dream job and living in mom’s basement post-graduation. In this day and age, finding information on people you have never met before is easier than ever. If you don’t think an employer is going to take 10 seconds to enter your name into a search engine as part of the vetting process, guess again. Here’s the good news: not only can you make sure that you don’t tarnish your name, but you can actually make your online presence work to your advantage. Keeping a well-managed and professional online profile helps you to stand out from a crowd of other recent graduates when applying for competitive entry-level jobs, and can also allow you to network with other professionals in your field. Making new contacts online is an excellent way to at least get yourself an interview for a company that would have otherwise put your application in the “shred immediately” pile. However, it’s also important to consider what kind of information you are putting out there. Remember that you want this to be publicly accessible information on the web, so putting your phone number and a list of your fears might not be the best idea. So what can you put up to impress the bigwigs? A copy of your resume, a detailed work history and a list of interests and achievements is a great start. If you have any school projects that you are particularly proud of, throw them up as well. Despite what mommy might have told you, selling yourself really is the best way to get noticed — so long as you are selling to the right crowd. Add contacts from prospective companies and ask questions about job openings and requirements. Even if they cannot answer the questions for you, they will generally be more than happy to lead you in the right direction. (see more at Sell yourself professionally, digitally – The Manitoban)


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