As you plan your future in IT, you’ll want to start practicing for a “real world” job right now. Internships, volunteer work, and job shadowing are all great ways to gain hands-on experience in a career that interests you. Another important piece of the puzzle is your online reputation. This includes all the information and pictures on any social site like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and your blog. Having a problem-free web presence is especially important in IT careers because it’s where so much of the work takes place! And it’s becoming an ever more common practice for companies and colleges to Google their prospective employees and students to see what they’re made of. Be ready for it.

Tips for maintaining a Professional Online Profile (Facebook, Twitter, Blogging…)

Facebook is a great tool you can use to stay in touch with family and friends. It can also be the cause of some problems if you don’t manage your privacy settings and monitor activity on your profile. Just like any tool, Facebook comes with a set of instructions for best use. Here are some tips for keeping your profile clean and professional:

  1. Don’t post pictures you wouldn’t want your grandma—or college admissions counselors, or employers—to see. This includes over-the-top party photos and anything that could be considered sexting. Use common sense—if you would be too embarrassed to show it at a family reunion, don’t post it.
  2. Steer clear of offensive jokes and language—and don’t post links to content that’s offensive.
  3. Say “no” to gossip about fellow students and your teachers. Even with the highest privacy settings in place, a “friend” could share that information without your permission.
  4. View your profile through the eyes of future employers or admissions counselors. Checking a candidate’s Facebook profile is common.

Additional Tip: Have you ever Googled yourself? Try typing your full name into the search bar and see what comes up. This is what the world sees when it Googles you!