Social Media and You: Branding Yourself on the Internet

By Samantha Saltess, PRSSA member

As fellow students interested in PR, you probably already know that having an online presence is a critical factor in your success. But what you might not know is how much information is out there on you, and how easy it is to find! David D. Perlmutter, Director of the Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication, talked to the James F. Fox chapter of PRSSA members on September 14 on using social media and branding yourself in a positive light.

The most crucial fact I learned from his lecture is that employers do Google you! They want to get an understanding of who you are and what you have done before they even meet you, and possibly decide if they even want to meet you. Google yourself and find out what comes up. Make sure to check Google Images as well. If something less than desired pops up, focus on adding positive sites, like a personal blog, to bump the negative ones back a few pages.

If there are pictures of you on the Internet that you don’t think showcase you properly to an employer, delete them right away! If a friend on Facebook or Twitter has posted the picture, don’t hesitate to ask him or her to take it down. A general rule of thumb: don’t post anything that you wouldn’t mind sharing at Thanksgiving dinner with your grandma and the rest of the family.

Set up Google Alerts for your name. It’s simple, fast, and free. It can alert you to what is being said about you on the World Wide Web. 

The quicker you find out about something that puts you in a bad light, the quicker you can figure out how to get rid of it. Set a Google Alert up here.

Another tip Dr. Perlmutter mentioned and I find extremely important is getting a LinkedIn account. Many employers won’t hire you if you don’t have one, so set one up today. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows you to connect to other professionals you know, and follow certain companies that you are interested in. You can upload your résumé and talk about your qualities and accomplishments that make you stand out to employers.

Lastly, use Twitter and Facebook, and use them professionally!

Keep your Twitter page public, and use it to post information that others find useful and interesting. It’s okay to post about how bad of a day you are having, but never bad-mouth an employer or employees.

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