How to Create Your Online Identity

By: Mackenzie Stagnito, Director of Chapter Development

Is is often challenging to separate your everyday life from the speed and consistency that is the  internet. However, when it comes to internship and job searching, it is important to remember to present your most professional self in all aspects of your life, including your online accounts.

  1. LinkedIn
    1. LinkedIn is one of the most important forms of social media to have, and professionalism is vital on this network. Be sure to upload a professional-looking headshot as your profile picture. You can hire a photographer to get a good shot, or have a friend snap a headshot with a plain or clean background. Your summary, which  is one of the first sections that prospective connections and employers will read, should describe  your interests, experiences, and skills in detail. Ask someone else to proofread and edit your summary to be sure there are not any misspellings or grammar errors. In settings, you can edit the link to your page to a short, simple URL that can fit easily on your resume, cover letter, or website. Ask your connections to endorse your skills, and be sure to return the favor on their accounts as well! Lastly, don’t be afraid to connect with people you don’t personally know. You never know what opportunities can come from reaching out to someone new!
  2. Social Media Accounts
    1. Professional etiquette is just as important for your virtual self as it is at a career fair. Many prospective employers check social media accounts before hiring to get a look of who a job candidate really is outside the interview process. It is often difficult to remember to separate personal life from professional life when it comes to media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. However, remember that nothing is really completely hidden on the internet. Represent your best self and be conscious of the material you are posting. Don’t post too many photos from nights out or of any inappropriate behavior. Always use the correct wording and grammar, and post photos that highlight interesting aspects of your life, especially if they can also be applied to your career. Keep your accounts on private and refrain from posting negative opinions on old jobs or employers.
  3. Personal blog/website
    1. Setting up a personal website is a great way to give prospective employers a look at some of your past work and experiences. Penn State students can create a WordPress site for free and post projects, pictures, essays, or personal works. This is one of the first links that will appear on Google, and is a great first impression of who you are and what you hope to accomplish. Use this outlet to establish your own writing style and express yourself!

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