Preparation

Take Control of Your Online Presence

Image of a person looking through a food instagram page

While your online presence has mattered since the invention of social media, it is absolutely essential now.  We are living in a virtual world and you need to have control of your online presence—it is how you will make connections and communicate your value to potential employers. 

One of the most important things you can do now is complete an inventory of your digital accounts and make a plan for them going forward. To assist you with this process, here is a checklist for you to follow:

Make a list. Grab a piece of paper and write down all of your digital accounts. This includes everything from Facebook to LinkedIn to your Finsta account—even if you haven’t updated it in years. Google yourself and make sure you account for everything that pops up. You may be surprised to see that the digital portfolio you made for a class three years ago still appears in a simple search.

Check it twice. Make a checkmark next to the accounts you have used within the last month and an x mark next to the ones that you haven’t updated in more than six months. 

Define your intent. Write one sentence next to each account that explains how you use it and what its purpose is. 

Trim the fat: Review that list and determine if you really need all of those accounts. Do they serve a purpose? Do they highlight you well? Do you really need that (now defunct) Instagram account that you made for your dog? If the answer is no, get rid of it so you can refocus your energy. Having one great account is better than 5 mediocre ones. 

Review. Review. Review. Once you decide to keep an account, review it entirely. Check your privacy settings. Remove anything that you would not want a potential employer to see. Making your account private does not guarantee that no one beyond your followers will ever see it.

Let your personal brand shine: All of your accounts should cohesively communicate your brand to the world. Reflect on your interests, skills, values, and personality and think about how to use your accounts to your strength. If you value humor, your accounts should highlight your sense of humor. You want to be able to communicate your authentic self, while still showcasing yourself in the best light. 

Tip: If you want to explore what your brand is, make an appointment with one of our career exploration coaches. They can help you understand your skills, interests, and values and how they define your personal brand. 

Think of opportunities: This may seem counterintuitive, but now that you’ve trimmed the fat you are ready to open yourself up to potential opportunities. Think about accounts that you don’t have but you could take advantage of. If you are interested in working in government or public policy, Twitter could be a great opportunity for you to stay updated on industry trends and make connections with politicians and organizations. 

Make a plan: Now that you have your list of accounts, you need a plan for each one. What are your goals for the account? How often will you update them? What types of content will you post? Again, this is why a minimalist approach is best when determining how many accounts you will have so you can devote the energy needed to be successful. Here are a few example plans:

LinkedIn:
Goal: To grow my network and make connections in the sports marketing industry. 

Plan: 
-I will spend one hour per week researching professionals and influencers in the sports marketing industry. 
-I will send three messages per week to professionals in the industry.
-I will write one post per week that features my thoughts on industry-specific articles.

Instagram:
Goal: To showcase my artwork and build connections in the industry.

Plan:
-I will find three new artists to follow each week.
-I will comment on at least five other posts per week.
-I will post my artwork three times per week. 

Put on the final touches: Now that you have your plans, make sure your profiles look the best they can. Take a new profile picture. Update your bio. Make a logo for your website. And remember to let your brand shine through each of these elements. 

Execute and commit: You are now ready to go. Commit to your plan and make the profiles work for you. You’ll be surprised by how far consistency goes towards achieving your goals.

—By Allison Postlethwait, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications

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