Guest blogger Brittany Berger is a senior mass communications student at the University of Delaware and public relations specialist at eZanga.com. She serves as publicity chair for a campus honor society, is technical chair for the campus dance marathon and is in a sorority. She loves tweeting and blogging at brittanyberger.com.
With the Internet and social media, much more of our lives is open to the public eye, which can often lead to disaster. You often hear horror stories about students not getting hired because of content on their Facebook pages and employees losing jobs over blogs or posts on Facebook and Twitter.
It’s a sign that employers are looking at your online presence and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can make it work to your advantage.
You’re fooling yourself if you think potential employers aren’t going to run your name through a search engine. But if you work to build an online reputation as a young professional, the top search results will all be sites that you’re proud of and can help you get a foot in the door. Whether you’re applying for jobs right now or not, you’ll be glad you did this all later.
Blogging is a way to show what you know every time you write a post. It also opens doors to many other opportunities. You can blog about anything, but choosing something related to your intended career shows that you already pay attention to and are involved in the industry. For example, I blog about my favorite areas of interest: public relations and social media. If you’re interested in political science, you can write about politics. But you can also blog about sports, fashion, food, etc.
You can easily set up a blog for free with services such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger or Posterous. Blog regularly and you will also see your writing improve, which is important for almost any job. You can then promote your blog on social media sites and include a link on your resume, along with a link to your portfolio.
Create an Online Portfolio
An online portfolio gives you the chance to showcase the best work from your college career. You can set up a portfolio for free with a website like WordPress, Weebly, or even Google Sites. Many sites require little to no design experience but still allow you to customize your site’s appearance.
On your portfolio, you should include your resume along with an additional “About” page introducing yourself more personally and a “Contact” page indicating how to get in touch with you. In addition to these pages, select a few of your best presentations, projects and papers (provided they’re not too long). You can also showcase any work you have done for organizations you are a part of. Lastly, you can list awards or honors you have received, any published work or a sample cover letter.
Use Social Media
Social media is also a great place to build your personal brand. With new Facebook privacy settings, you can have different privacy settings for every item on your Timeline. Use this opportunity to turn your Facebook Timeline into a multimedia-rich showcase. You can post pictures of yourself being involved on campus in student organizations or links to published work. Once you have “branded” content on your Timeline, set the privacy settings of those posts to "public" by clicking on the icon next to the post’s timestamp.
If you have spent time developing a personal brand, what results have you seen from it?
Image: tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net