Josh spoke with a community college southwest of Kansas City about how to shine online so you can put your best foot forward. Josh taught the students how to market themselves. Whether you are looking to go on to a university, a job, or a graduate school, everyone is going to want to know who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Colleges and employers will often look at and even print out your online presence, such as an online portfolio or social media accounts, to add to your application. They will look at your past performance as an indicator of future performance at that school or company. Your Google results can help you put your best foot forward. Josh invited everyone in the audience to Google themselves before his presentation. When he asked what the students saw when they looked themselves up, most of them saw things unrelated to them, though sometimes they came across their own social media accounts. Some students even had the exact same name as a celebrity. Josh then talked about looking at Google photo results. When Josh Googles himself, he sees some professional and volunteer photos, but “Josh Ochs” also brings up a picture of a baby dressed as Harry Potter. Do you think colleges and employers will click on the most noble photo or the weirdest photo? Beware of the weirdest photos, even ones by other people, because colleges and employers will go down that rabbit hole. When posting pictures online, whether through social media or an online portfolio, try these best practices: • Bring other people into your photos • Showcase organizations you are a part of • Take pictures of your volunteer opportunities Josh has an easy Instagram formula for both your picture and your caption: take a classy group photo and post it when a caption that has the organization’s name in it as well as the group activity you are doing and how thankful you are for the opportunity. For instance, if you take a school trip to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity, take a nice group shot and then mention the organization in the caption. With all social media, it’s important to set your usernames the same way each time, and make them simple! This is part of your branding and will make it easier for colleges and employers to find you. Utilize the link and highlights section of your bio as well. Showcase a portfolio or pictures that show your passions, interests, and volunteerism. If you have any bad Google results, Josh has 3 ways to remove them: 1. Did you post it? Take it down. Google will allow you to request a search result to be removed. 2. Did a friend post it? Ask your friend very nicely to take it down. 3. Did someone with your same name post it? Create an online portfolio and post positive posts to move the bad google results further down the results page. How to lose an opportunity in just one post: One woman interviewed for the company, Cisco. She was offered the job, but then went to Twitter and complained about the company and how she didn’t want to work there. Some of Cisco’s employees saw her Twitter post and let Human Resources know. Cisco then rescinded their job offer. Now, if she wants to look for another job, other employers will see the many news articles that wrote about her tweet. Her Google search will be forever linked with that one lapse in judgement. Final tips: • Take positive group photos • Create a LinkedIn profile • Build an online portfolio through a Google site, a paid site, or social media.
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