Whatever shows up when you Google yourself is your first introduction to many people. If you apply for a job, the human resources manager might Google you to find out what kind of person you are. If she finds nothing but pics of you drunk, half-naked and partying it up, you’re probably not even going to get an interview. On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job as a software engineer and she stumbles upon your insightful technology blog, you’re a shoe in.
The best advice I’ve seen for managing your online identity is to act online as you would in person. Simply be yourself, and if you’re looking to impress, be the best possible version of yourself.
By Tai Goodwin
Get Real: Acknowledge how you are feeling about your work-life. Journal it, talk about it with someone you don’t have to sensor yourself with, but stop holding it in. The more you try to ignore how you really feel, the more anxiety and frustration you will feel about your situation. The sooner you identify how you feel, the sooner you can address it.
Get Inspired: Find a book, audio CD, or MP3 – something that tells someone else’s success story and read it or listen to it. The focus here is to connect with their ups and downs on their journey and the challenges they had to overcome to reach their goals. Let their success motivate you to press towards your vision despite how you feel right now.
Make a Plan: It can be really hard to stay motivated if you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Most people stay on the road to no where because they haven’t made a map to go anywhere else. Start putting together a plan for how you are going to escape or move into another role. It could mean going back to school, updating your resume for a lateral move within your company, expanding your professional network – the point here is to move from being dominated by feelings of frustration to a place of action.
CNBC reported recently that degrees from online universities are gaining acceptance with employers and with society in general. There is no doubt that employers are simply familiarizing themselves with the validity of online degrees as they increasingly show up on job applications. This is why the accreditation of online universities is so important. Without accreditation, your employer can never be sure if your online degree is not just the product of a diploma mill that cranks out worthless diplomas to people willing to pay for them.
Online degree-holders should know how to market their degree, using their particular mode of education to their advantage in interviews. Employers’ ears perk up when they hear that a job candidate was able to go to college and work at the same time, balancing both successfully. That translates to them that the candidate has the ability to be dedicated to a task and accomplish a challenging goal.
A portfolio proving you can produce work
Keep samples of your best work from classes and internships. Many employers will want to see your work before hiring you. If you’re not building a portfolio through things you’re required to do before you graduate, then produce these things on your own time. Practice writing articles, press releases, pitches, designing publications, compiling clip reports, research summaries, or anything else you might be hired to do. Practice is important.