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Managing your online presence

Gina Robertson

Career Development Services Manager at the University of Waikato
Gina Robertson, Career Development Services Manager from the University of Waikato provides insight on how to make your online presence an asset, not a liability.

What made you want to become a career manager? 

To be responsible for assessing the career development needs of the students and to work with work-integrated learning, manage, faculties, service divisions, key employers, and external stakeholders to develop and deliver innovative career development programmes and services with the aim to enhance the employability of students and graduates. 

How did you get to your current position and how long have you occupied it? 

I strategically focused on engaging with the experience and qualifications required in order to be a successful applicant when applying for this role 6 years ago.

What does your work involve day-to-day? 

  • Management and leadership of the staff in the Career Development Services team; 
  • Provision of student career development services at the University, with the aim to support students throughout their studies and after graduation by providing them with opportunities to enhance their career and employability; 
  • Manage the University’s engagement with faculties, and employers in relation to career services, working to continually enhance and improve the networks and opportunities for students and the University. ( including external funding for student project opportunities)    

Advice for students and graduates

How much attention should I pay to my online presence when applying for jobs?

You are the CEO of your own company. The most important feature of your career is being who you say you are and being able to effectively communicate this in your online presence. Ensure your messaging, your appearance and your online presence aligns with what you want people to perceive about you.

What are some ‘must-haves’ to include in my online profiles knowing employers might view them?

Identify what makes you unique, distinctive, great, compelling, who is your target audience and what do they want to know about you?

Make sure that your online presence is consistent, visible and original.

Which sites should I be active on, if any? 

  • Start with Linkedln and be consistent with the use of this platform.
  • Facebook, requires you to engage on a daily and weekly basis for consistent postings.

Are there any sites I should avoid making profiles on?

Whilst there are no specific sites to avoid, the key message is to remember that 95% of recruiters now research candidates online. 57% of those recruiters see a personal website as a critical job search tool. In addition, be mindful of;

  • The way you act online with the content, consistency and frequency.
  • The way you talk online, your online voice and the audience need to be taken into consideration.
  • The way you present yourself online, look at your profile, photographs and content.

What sort of content should I avoid having on my profiles?

Content that will not align with what you want people to perceive about you. A brand that does not identify the brand you want others to see and help your future career aspirations.

Is it OK to have some silly content on my online profiles? 

  1. Pictures with pets?
  2. Out having drinks?
  3. Memes?

Incongruent images especially online will get you into the maybe or no pile quickly when you are job seeking.

What’s the ‘connecting’ etiquette on LinkedIn? Should I connect with everyone I see, or be selective? This can apply to other social media sites too. 

Anything you put online either has the potential to promote you as a great employee or provide you with negative branding.  Be active, just setting up a profile won’t get the job done. Share status updates, post articles you think are interesting. Join and participate in groups to foster professional relationships. Connect, connect, connect with associates, colleagues and friends. Often networking is not about the person you know directly, but all of the people s/he knows.

If my privacy settings are strict but employers ask to see my profiles, what should I do?

You need to be able to manage your online image across the different online formats. Recruiters will always check social networking profiles of candidates early in the recruiting process.

What should I do if I don’t want employers to see something on my social media accounts, but I don’t want to (or can’t) get rid of it?

Check to see if your online presence is up to scratch before you begin to apply for positions. Google yourself online!

A word to the wise...

Lead self, enjoy the journey and be authentic.