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Online & Social Profiles

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Social media can be an excellent resource in your job search. It can also hinder your chances of getting a job, if not managed properly. Check out these resources on the Perils of Social Networking and How to Successfully Use Social Media in the Job Search.

Your online presence can tell a future employer a lot about you. Be aware that the image you are projecting on your social accounts, including content/pictures that you've been tagged in, may be seen by a recruiter. If it doesn't pass the "would my parents approve?" test (i.e. would you feel comfortable if your parents saw this content), then chances are, it's not appropriate for a potential employer to see either. Google yourself to see what a potential employer will find if they search for you and update your accounts accordingly. Your online presence, including social media accounts, is part of your personal brand.

Tips for Creating Online Profiles

Whether you are managing your personal social accounts or creating a profile on an employer job application site, here's what to keep in mind:

Project the right image

  • Profile photos should be professional in appearance. They do not need to be professionally taken -- have a friend use your phone's camera to take a picture of you against a blank wall. Avoid using photos with others in them or of things other than yourself (i.e. your dog). Be mindful of what is in the background of your photos too.

Be thoughtful

  • Use appropriate username names -- remember the "would my parents approve?" test. Think about the content and photos that you are posting and things that you are tagged in. Remove all negative, inappropriate, or controversial content and be aware of the people and things that you follow or are connected to.

Be consistent

  • Make sure that your information is consistent across all of your social media platforms and that you keep it up-to-date. Consider matching your formatting and color schemes, as well. This will help employers to recognize your "brand".

Show your interests

  • Wherever possible, highlight the things you are passionate about, your unique skills, and experiences that you are proud of. What makes you, you?

Manage privacy

  • Be sure that you update your privacy filters, wherever appropriate. Consider what you are allowing people to access when you connect with them or follow a page. Be familiar with each platform's privacy policies -- these change often.


With 500 million+ members, LinkedIn is a great resource for you to build and engage with your professional network. You can manage your professional identity, access thousands of job and internship opportunities, and foster relationships that will help drive career success.

Tips for Successfully Using LinkedIn

  • Connect with Penn State (and IST) alumni -- request an informational interview to gain more insight into the job that they do and learn more about your potential career choices. Use LinkedIn's Alumni tool to identify alums in your targeted area of interest or geographic location.
  • Research companies -- follow accounts of employers that you are interested in. See who you may be connected to in that network. Review the job descriptions that are advertised in LinkedIn.
  • Search for open positions using LinkedIn's Job Board. In addition to Compass, LinkedIn provides an excellent resource for students and professionals to identify relevant job and internship opportunities.

Review these resources from LinkedIn on how to build your profile, search for jobs, connect with alumni, and more!



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