Want to make a good first impression online?

orange napkin

Clean up your Facebook account and update your Facebook privacy settings. 

Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014 was the keynote speaker at my sorority’s 20 year conference. I had the great opportunity to hear her story this past weekend and something that really resonated with me during her speech was a story about this boy in middle school that made a comment about her mustache. She said, “ he can go on to be CEO of Apple or someone really important but I will always remember him as the guy that made me feel bad about my mustache”.  Wrapping up her story, she emphasized the importance of the kind of impression you leave on people.

Since we live in a world powered by social media, your Facebook page can often times be a first impression of you to your employer or colleagues. You’ll be surprise how many managers will try to see if you have any mutual friends and will even ask their friends about you or what you post on your profile.

In a previous blog posts from this series,  I focus a lot on how you can use social media to accelerate your personal brand.  In this particular post, I want to focus on how not paying attention to your privacy settings on your Facebook page can set your brand back a bit.

To clarify, this isn’t privacy settings when you accept a friend request from someone. These are the settings you should be familiar with when someone lands on the public portion of your page. . .

  1. Take advantage of the “View as” capability. This allows you to view your page as if you were someone else. ( add screenshots)
  2. Your Coverphoto is ALWAYS shared with the public. There is currently no option to change that setting although one is rumored to be in the works. With that being said, I highly recommend to opt for a safe conservative cover photo so that people don’t get the wrong idea about you. Safe photos would be a city or popular landscape.
  3. Your first profile picture is also always SHARED with public unless you choose the option to “only share with me”. Because of this, I recommend to choose a profile picture that best represents you and what you want you to be known for. Opt out on those partying pics that you thinks make you look cool right now. Be sure to go into your “profile pictures” album and change those settings to “share only with friends”.
  4. Edit your “who can look me up setting” which is under privacy and settings and change the “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?”. Click no. This will help minimize any Facebook activity that will show up after someone searches you on Google or any other search engine site.
  5. Clean up your posts and tagged pictures every few years!  What you posted when you first opened your account at 18 is going to be there when you’re job hunting at 21-22. Naturally, your 18 self isn’t representative of your 22 year old self.  As we’ve seen with celebrities and high profile cases, what someone has posted in the past can have repercussions that impact their employment and reputation.

Haylee is an Alumna from the College of Arts, Media and Design and a member of the Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc, Northeastern Xi Chapter. She is currently a Marketing and Communications Manager at Ca Technologies, a social media personal branding coach, and a yogi residing in Medford, MA. Contact her at hayleethikeo@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @hayleethikeo.

Look for Haylee’s posts every other Tuesday

Image source: SocialAppsHQ, Importance of first Facebook impression

Why Your Online Personal Brand Matters

promote yourselfDuring my senior year at Northeastern, I interviewed for a Digital Marketing Specialist role at Staples Inc. For that interview, I brought a portfolio that contained screenshots of presentations and reports that I’ve done during my previous co-ops. In addition, I had also included a screenshot of my personal website and social activity on Twitter to prove my enthusiasm for the industry.The hiring manager said that my personal website and social media activities differentiated me from the competition and I was offered the position.

In a world where the job market is so saturated with college graduates, your online personal brand can really set yourself a part from the pack.

Since moving on from my role at Staples Inc, I am now responsible for educating a team of 30 people about why it’s important to establish a positive image online and how to use social media to talk to customers.The same best practices that I bestow on my team can also be leveraged by soon-to-be college graduates looking to get their resume in front of a busy employer.

Follow me on this Online Personal Branding Series where I share tips and tricks on how to build your personal brand and get noticed by employers online.

Here are 5 ways to prepare yourself for the journey – 

1) Change your mind set – It all starts when we stop thinking about social media as a tool for personal bragging, complaining, and whining. Once we see the power of these channels and how it impacts our professional image, we’re then able to break bad habits such as tweeting about a negative experience, posting inappropriate pictures on Facebook, and neglecting your LinkedIn account.

2) Clean up your profiles – In a future a post, I’ll go in depth about the different ways you can use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to build your brand. For now, I would make sure all my privacy settings are set and that my future employer isn’t going to see my bikini photos from my vacation at the Bahamas. I would also go back and review any negative or insensitive tweets and clean those up as well.

3) Google yourself – It is a misconception to think that social media etiquette and branding matters to only people in business, marketing, or advertising. Your online brand matters the moment you hand someone a networking card and that person goes home to Google you. A Google search results page pulls information from social networks to help narrow down the results. The links to your social networks will most likely show up at the top.  Try it yourself! Make sure it’s something you’re proud of.

4) Determine your brand – What is it that you want to be known for online? Are you an aspiring journalist, blogger, writer? Are you a marketer who likes to practice Yoga on weekends? Are you a scientist who is passionate about sustainability? You want your brand to be something that represents who you are but at the same time you’re proud to show employers.

5) Focus – Between exams and extracurricular activities, college students are busy. If this is overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, I recommend starting with LinkedIn. Go sign up if you don’t have an account, add a picture, update your summary, and start connecting with your peers. LinkedIn is a great space to get noticed by recruiters but if you take advantage of participating in community groups and consistently be active on LinkedIn, you might get noticed sooner.

Haylee is an Alumna from the College of Arts, Media, and Design and a member of the Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc, Northeastern Xi Chapter . She is currently a Marketing and Communications Manager at Ca Technologies, a social media personal branding coach, and a yogi residing in Medford, MA.  Contact her at hayleethikeo@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @hayleethikeo.

Look for Haylee’s posts every other Tuesday.

Taking Advantage of Serendipity

Image

thailand pic

Bangkok’s Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha

The universe has a funny way of unraveling itself.

On the eve of my first organic chemistry exam this past September, I found myself in a familiar place: trapped in Snell Library scouring the Internet, desperate for stimulation. I was left numb from the repetitive and mechanic task of drawing benzene rings and their reactions. There were only so many that I could handle. I needed some down time.

Facebook was an obvious first choice. So, I wandered my News Feed, clicking on BuzzFeed links, reading endless lists of things I probably didn’t need to know, even for conversation’s sake. I flirted with the front page of Reddit, and then moved on to other news outlets, NPR, The New York Times, and Al Jeezera to name a few. This was the usual direction my Internet habits followed to kill some time; and almost as if by automatic action, I always was led back to Facebook. And on this particular night, I am certainly glad I was.

A friend of mine posted a status on her wall; she was in search of a travel companion on her way to an international co-op in China. I curiously, and somewhat jokingly commented “Knowing Chinese necessary?” to which I received a prompt reply, and a private inbox message to accompany it.

In the coming weeks, we exchanged information, key details, and a formulated a basic plan for the spring semester. I danced around the idea for quite sometime, unsure and uncertain about what types of experiences lay before us. Reluctant, but fueled by the prospect of travel and discovery, I began to research ways in which I could make this journey a reality. And, like any good explorer, I started off by first by consulting my mother.

Even through the phone, I was able to discern my mother’s hesitation in giving her consent to me as I pursued this co-op experience. Armed with information, statistics, and narratives from students, interns, and some expatriate friends, I was able to make a compelling case for what these next six months could mean for the future.

“It just makes sense,” I told her.

With the door now open to fully pursue working in China – I gathered everything I needed to make for a seamless process in orchestrating a self-developed co-op. In between classes, I even tried to learn Mandarin (I will emphasize – tried). In looking forward though, doubts began to creep into my head.

I went back to the drawing board.

Hungry for any sign of opportunity, I realized that Thailand was Lady Luck. Again, I assembled what I needed to ensure some solidarity while I would be abroad. I didn’t have any job prospects and was operating with very limited funding. What I did have though, was an incredibly vast support network in Thailand – family, friends, teammates, and strangers I hadn’t even met yet. I was motivated by an even stronger sense of curiosity – I would be able uncover my family’s heritage, learn forgotten cultures, and traditions all to bring back and share a story not only grounded in experience, but in self-discovery and growth. This was all I needed. I then initiated the search.

It was then when I truly appreciated what my friend had done in putting together the co-op that she had laid before us in China. It was a lot of work. The holes and hoops that she had to jump through were countless, never-ending. E-mails were sent to researchers a world away, applications were sent to organizations that probably never read them, or discarded them upon receipt. It felt like a hopeless endeavor. By November, I had contacted over sixty institutions, ranging from laboratories, English language schools, universities, and non-profits.

After the bouts of insomnia, spending hours writing cover letters, refining my CV, and preparing for interviews, three researchers finally gave me the green light.

That’s where this co-op begins – a Facebook post read during a long night of studying, a couple of messages, a phone call, and a little bit of self-reflection. Chance, luck, some preparation, and dedication to an idea all seemed to come together in symphony. A year ago, let alone six months ago, this opportunity was a pipe dream. Take advantage of serendipity – who knows where you could end up.

P.S. This post was inspired by the book, The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things In Motion, by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison.

John Sirisuth picJohn is a 4th year health sciences student at The Bouvé College of Health Sciences. With a nose for exploration and travel, John will be writing from Southeast Asia about his experiences on co-op in Surin and Bangkok, Thailand. There, he’ll be volunteering in community clinics, in addition to conducting public health research at Chulalongkorn University. Follow his adventures on Instagram: johnsirisuth.

 

In, out and back again – 12 LinkedIn Updates You Need to Know

LinkedIn-Logo-2CThis post was written by Sabrina Woods. Sabrina is an Associate Director at Northeastern University’s Career Development office and also owns her own private practice. This post originally appeared on LinkedIn, October 16, 2014. 

Keeping up with LinkedIn can be a challenge. Something new gets added, something else gets taken away. In, then out, then sometimes back again. Here are 12 of LinkedIn’s latest updates:

profile rank 4 at NU

Who’s Viewed Me?

Now LinkedIn is showing you more details about who has viewed your profile and what actions you took that helped this number to increase. Martin Beck talks about this new feature in his post, “LinkedIn Now Shows How You Sparked That Engagement.” Review more details on LinkedIn’s own blog. I have to admit that I kind of got a kick out of seeing one of my own stats.

Some Take Aways (as in things LinkedIn has taken away)

As we all know, whether we like it or not, LinkedIn occasionally takes away some of the things we like. So, the latest is that you can no longer get introduced to 3rd degree connections. Who knows, one day it might be back. However, in the meantime, Donna Serdula gives us some great work-arounds in her article.

It’s Back! You can see “Recent Activity” Again

This feature, of being able to see what your connections are posting, liking and commenting on, used to show up right on a person’s profile. Then it went away. But, now it has returned. And I’m very happy about this. To find it, go to a 1st level connection’s profile and hover over the drop down menu next to the “Send a message” box at the top. The first option now says, “View recent activity.” More from LinkedIn’s blog here.

Tap the Visual Trend: Add a Header

You can now add a visual header to your profile. When this first rolled out it was only for premium accounts. However, I just found out from a colleague (thanks Mike Ariale), that this is now available on the free LinkedIn account. Want to learn more? Viveka von Rosen shares details here.

“Groups” is Out

When sending LinkedIn invites, you can no longer select “groups” as the way you know invitationsomeone. Darn. But, don’t worry, in most cases (unless someone has changed their own settings), you can still select another category. To work around this issue, I have started selecting the “friend” category. Even if that isn’t quite the best fit, not to worry as the person getting the invitation doesn’t see what category you have selected.

LinkedIn’s “New Tools for Students” are actually perfect for grown-ups

I’ve been playing around with the University Finder, and I discovered I could use it for other purposes beyond it’s main point. For example, I’m teaching a LinkedIn workshop next week to grad students who are studying nutrition. They aren’t interested in finding a university, but they can use this tool to see what individuals are doing (what companies they work for) that studied Food, Nutrition & Wellness. You can run this same type of search via the Find Alumni tool, but it is limited to just looking at data from one university at a time. To read more about it, click here.

Know Your Numbers & Monitor Your Metrics

This post, “9 LinkedIn Metrics to Keep Your Eye On” by Viveka von Rosen helps you to really look at, track and think about how you can enhance your online presence.

Customize those Invites, Now on Your Mobile App

If you’re like me in that you prefer to send customized invites, then using the mobile app has been a tad frustrating. You’d meet someone cool at a conference, want to connect right then from your phone, but couldn’t until now, customize that message. So glad they changed this!

Certify those Certifications

Have you taken a course from Coursera or Lynda? Now there are 7 different online education companies that have partnered with LinkedIn to certify that course you took. I’m currently taking an EdX course (the Science of Happiness, in case you were curious), and they are included too! Details can be found in this post from The Next Web.

You Own It, Thank Goodness

The core message from LinkedIn’s latest “Terms of Service” is that YOU own your content. Yes, this is very good news indeed. If you ever worried about your blog post ending up being sold off somewhere, now you can rest assured that won’t be the case. Get the details in their blog.

Data Overload, I Mean Download

You can now request an archive of your data and download a file with pretty much your entire existence of interactions on LinkedIn. It’s not the prettiest document to look at, but it is very cool that you can actually get a copy of a tremendous about of info. What’s included? It ranges from content you’ve posted, shared, liked, or commented on; your search history; ads you’ve clicked on, and much more.

 

Take #theLinkedInChallengelinkedin challenge

This one is simple – introduce 2 connections that can benefit each other. I love this concept and post from Brynne Tillman. Check it out and start making those introductions; join in for the LinkedIn Challenge. Okay, this one wasn’t a “LinkedIn Update,” but it’s a fabulous idea I couldn’t resist promoting.

 Additional Timely Advice

Sabrina Woods is an Associate Director at Northeastern University Career Development.  Sabrina also works as a LinkedIn Trainer and has taught workshops in the US, UK and Middle East.  When not hanging out on LinkedIn, or meeting with Northeastern students, Sabrina enjoys discovering new coffee shops, adventuring outside and baking brownies.  If you’d like to connect, feel free to send her an invitation via LinkedIn

Brand for Hire: Crafting Your Professional Persona Online, Or, Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Make sure you like what you find! source: www.dailydawdle.com

Make sure you like what you find!
source: www.dailydawdle.com / 30 Rock, NBC Universal

Let’s start with a simple task: Google yourself.  Do you like what you find?  What appears on the first page?  Will it help you professionally?

Many of us are already using social media technologies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to communicate and keep in touch.  We must be cognizant of the fact that these online activities link back to our ‘real’ lives and professional reputations.  There are too many cases of celebrities on Twitter gone wrong for us to ignore the impact of our digital footprints. As I go on the job market, I am increasingly aware of the professional image that I present online and the role I have in managing that image.

My approach to professional social media practices is informed by teaching college students at Northeastern over the last few years.  Each semester, I had my students in Advanced Writing in the Disciplines create professional personas online by using social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter. The class used these tools to build professional profiles, engage in conversations with peers and experts, and to reflect on the pervasive role of social media in our professional and personal lives.  At the end of the semester, we conducted a social media audit, evaluating one another’s profiles to assess and revise the kind of presence we had online.

Manage the Message

The class yielded many conversations about the advantages and limitations of branding yourself online.  Many students were uncomfortable with the term “brand” and the corporate associations it conjures. We preferred thinking about these activities as crafting a professional persona. We treated our online activities as one of the many public performances that constitute our workplace selves. Employers are searching applicants’ names to make hiring decisions. Some hiring managers believe that having no online presence can be as harmful to your career as having a negative one.  I asked students, what kind of professional would you like to be? We used this guiding question to help shape our social media strategies.

Share as a Professional

Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn can be powerful tools to connect you with colleagues across the world.  Twitter helps me keep updated on recent news and trends in my field, build a professional network, and contribute to the relevant conversations of our day.  Getting set up with Twitter is relatively simple, though new users can find the sheer mass of information initially overwhelming. Ryan Cordell, Assistant Professor in the English Department at Northeastern, advises to treat Twitter like a river, dip into the stream for a moment, enjoy the water and then step back out.

LinkedIn operates much like Facebook, but should be devoted to strictly professional content.  Think of LinkedIn as a more dynamic version of your resume.  You can add samples of your work, receive and give endorsements from employers, join networking groups like alumni associations, and share updates. Another option About.me is a short version of LinkedIn; think of it as a digital business card.

Know Your Audience

I treat my social media identities as concentric circles with closest friends and family at the center, extending outward to colleagues, acquaintances and unknown followers.  Or, we could think of these groups as networked nodes, comprised of categorically distinct, yet interconnected clusters.  Whatever your organizational metaphor, find a way of separating out your audiences and tailor content and privacy settings accordingly.

Showcase Your Work

Personal websites can be an essential home base for your professional brand, as Lindsey Sampson recently discussed on The Works. Like LinkedIn, my website operates as a multimedia resume with examples of recent projects and research activities. Unlike LinkedIn, I have complete autonomy of what appears on the site.  A personal website is a space where you can control your self-presentation, highlighting your accomplishments and goals for your audience.

Find Your Limit

In the age of Instagram documentation, we know it can be easy to overshare. We begin to feel as if every thought should be tweeted, ever inspiration captured, and every relationship tagged and accounted for.  But, what are the limits? Digital identities need to be carefully monitored and maintained to prevent outdated content, mixed messages, or even imposters.  Online branding can also be time consuming. Social media managers like HootSuite, which allow me to schedule posts on multiple social media accounts ahead of time, help me to “unplug” on weekends.

Define Yourself

Professional branding will take on different resonance depending on your field, but, for many, social media can be an important tool for professional definition and promotion. People will inevitably form impressions of your professional persona from your daily activities in the workplace.  Taking conscious control of that image by crafting a clear and consistent professional persona online will only further your career by helping you to identify strengths, build a career portfolio, connect with peers, and better target long term goals.

Next month I’ll discuss networking strategies and the role of mentors during the job search. Join me the first Thursday of the month here on The Works as I countdown to graduation.

Lana Cook - HeadshotLana Cook is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department  at Northeastern University. Her dissertation traces the development of the psychedelic aesthetic in mid-twentieth century American literature and film. Lana is a 2013-2014 “Viral Culture” graduate fellow at the Northeastern Humanities Center.  She received her bachelors of arts at University of New Hampshire.  You can follow her on Twitter @lanacook or Linkedin. You can view her portfolio at LanaCook.net.

Social Media Tips For Job Searchers

Cant. Stop. Pinning.

Cant. Stop. Won’t. Stop. Pinning.

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works. Follow her blog here and/or tweet her @lindseygsampson.

Co-op application time is upon us – it’s time to get nervous, people. This time of the semester is also a great time to work on your professional appearance. Make new business cards. Update your LinkedIn like it’s no big thing. Social media is a powerful tool for the modern professional. It is connecting people around the world like never before, and rocking it on social media can be a huge asset to your career.

Twitter

Start strong. You know how embarrassed you get when you look back at your old e-mail addresses and usernames? guitarchix, beachbabe88, the list goes on and on. So spare fellow Tweeters the embarrassment and keep it simple on Twitter. The ideal Twitter handle? Your name. Just your name.

Tweet at everyone. Retweets are important for getting your name out there as an authority on a particular subject. So don’t just Tweet links — they look spammy and won’t create much noise. Pull out a short quote from the article to increase RTs, and be sure to Tweet at the article or publication. For examples, instead of:

“Cool article.  http://www.fastcoexist.com/node/1682236”

try something like

“S’Well produces a “sleek and clean” reusable water bottle to curb plastic consumption.http://www.fastcoexist.com/node/1682236 via @FastCoExist @swellbottle.”

That’s right, the CEO of S’Well Bottle just followed you. Why? Because you’re awesome.

Don’t be a stranger. Follow and interact with mentors, colleagues, and other professionals in your space. It’s okay to establish professional crushes. You know, people who have the job you have always dreamed of? Ask them a question or Tweet an interesting article at them.

Tweet when the world is active and paying attention. 4pm is the most retweeted time of day, so if you only Tweet once, this should be the time.

LinkedIn

Congratulate. Don’t ignore the LinkedIn updates that notify you when your contact has a new job. A job transition like this is the perfect opportunity to catch up with a contact. A quick LinkedIn message keeps you at the top of your contact’s mind. You don’t have to stay up to date on the intricate details of their life, but a quick congratulatory message can be a powerful tool in strengthening your network.

Source: socialappshq.com

Source: socialappshq.com

Facebook

Just keep it classy. Facebook is one of the largest social media outlets, and future employers will definitely check you out before hiring. While some people use Facebook strategically to build their businesses and professional brands, many use Facebook solely for personal use. Whatever you use Facebook for, avoid albums full of blurry drunk pictures and passive-aggressive status updates. We’re no longer twelve and that is not cute.

You don’t have to be a social media whiz and you don’t have to have hours every day to rock it on social media. Put your best and truest self out into the world of social media and you will attract people with similar interests and values. So get out there!

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here and/or tweet her @lindseygsampson.