Upgrading Your Online Image
Transforming Yourself from College Student to Scientific Professional
BY LISA B. MARSHALL AND ZOE M. OGILVIE
Social and professional networking is dramatically changing how people look for jobs and prepare for interviews. As you make the transition from
college to career, it is essential that you create a great first impression with potential
employers— and not only face-to-face.
Receiving a job offer in today’s market
often requires effective use of personal
online strategies that make you stand out
from the crowd.
These days, employers rarely hire
candidates based solely on their technical competence. Rather, they look for a
complete package: a well-rounded person
who possesses both technical and professional skills and who also will be a good fit
with the team and company. That’s why
employers are increasingly checking your
online presence to get a more complete
picture of you.
In general, your online presence refers
to your activity on the Web through personal websites, blogs, articles, profiles,
forums, and comments. Ask yourself, “What does my online image
communicate?” Will your online
image get you eliminated as a
potential candidate for a job? Or
will your online presence help to convince
someone to hire you?
Find the answer by Googling yourself.
You may be surprised to find out what’s
floating around in cyberspace about you!
If unflattering images are currently part
of your online presence, take the time to
scrub them from your profiles. Similarly,
friends may have tagged you in photos
that you don’t want prospective employers to view. Take care to get those images
scrubbed as well.
In one recent article, Gail, a Fortune 500
recruiter, is quoted as saying, “You’d be
surprised at what I’ve seen when research-
ing candidates… We were having a tough
time deciding between two candidates
until I found the profile of one of them on
Facebook. It boasted a photo of her loung-
ing on a hammock in a bikini, listed her
interests as ‘having a good time’ and her
sex as ‘yes, please.’ Not quite what we were
A short while ago, I asked a potential
candidate to send me his Skype ID, so
that I could interview him remotely. I
received the following message via e-mail:
“My Skype ID may be a bit offensive and
I would like to apologize beforehand —
it’s ‘fukitt.’” I was astonished; and no, we
didn’t interview the candidate!
The power of recommendations
After scrubbing the inappropriate pic-
tures and profiles from your social media
accounts and boosting your credibility and
visibility through your professional pro-
files, the single most effective thing
you can do to facilitate a job inter-
view after graduating from college
is to ramp up your online references.
It’s a great way to highlight positive
character traits as well as transfer-
Recommendations are very
strong social proof. Imagine the impression you would make if your prospective
employer opened your profile to find over
50 positive references, especially if one or
two of them were from well-known professionals? Now imagine the impression
with no references at all.
Right now, LinkedIn is the place to collect professional references. The benefit of
using LinkedIn is that the background and
reputation of the person giving the reference can also be quickly reviewed. Really,
inChemistry • www.acs.org/undergrad