A CareerBuilder survey of over 2,000 hiring managers found that 65 percent of individuals surveyed have used social media to investigate how candidates present themselves online, while 51 percent of the respondents reported that they use social media to determine if the candidate will be a good fit in the company (Socialnomics.net).
If you are planning on finding a job in the near future, it is time to start building a digital reputation. Building a digital reputation has many parts:
- Cleaning up your digital footprint
- Using social media tools to create a brand for yourself
- Establishing your expertise
Cleaning up your digital footprint starts with a vanity search. Go to Google and Yahoo! and type in your name surrounded by quotation marks ("Torrey Trust") and see what search results come up. If you have a common or popular name, then try adding UCSB to your search (i.e., "Torrey Trust" +UCSB). Would the first three to five links be appropriate for an employer to see? From a recent GradPost article, here are some tools that can help you clean up your digital footprint: Tools to Maintain a Professional Social Media Presence.
Joe Sabado, the Associate Director of Information Systems and Software Development, UCSB SIS&T, organized a presentation about creating a digital brand. He recommends having a tagline ("Entrepreneur, Graphic Designer, and Ph.D. Candidate"), a photo, and a set of colors that you use for all of your social media tools (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter profiles should all have the same look). This is a way to brand yourself. Here is Joe's PowerPoint presentation: Digital Reputation and Online Branding
Establishing your expertise means using social media and web 2.0 tools to share your voice, get recognized, and stand out in a crowd. You can establish your expertise by writing a blog, being a guest writer on blogs, and commenting and responding to blog posts and tweets. Being active in discussions and online conversations helps establish your expertise, trustworthiness, and credibility.
Networking is essential to finding a job. There are many ways to network online. You can build connections through Facebook and LinkedIn (See Job Searching with LinkedIn). You can connect with faculty and thought-leaders in your field through Twitter. The key to online networking is understanding that it's about building a relationship. Don't just add people to your network so that you can have 500 friends. You want to connect with people that can help you and that you can help. This can be as easy as connecting two people you know with each other or sending a faculty member you've connected with an email with an article he or she might find interesting.