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Professional Online Identity

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Social media is a powerful tool allowing you to create connections, but if not managed wisely your online identity could be harmful. When applying for jobs, it’s essential to be aware of what potential employers will find when searching online. Follow these tips for maintaining a professional online presence.

  • If you have a common name, consider using a middle name or middle initial on your application materials and in your professional online presence to avoid confusion with others.
  • Assume content and images you post online may be seen by potential employers. When in doubt make these pages private.
  • Search your name through search engines; are you comfortable with what is viewable? Take steps to remove content you would not want an employer to see and adjust your privacy settings.
  • If there is something you prefer employers not see, focus on building your brand on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn so that less flattering information will appear lower on a search.

Tips for Building Your LinkedIn Profile:

  • Professional "Headline": After your name, this is the first line viewers will see. Try to go beyond simply putting “student” in your headline. (Examples: Marketing Intern-Teach for America/Yale University Senior/Graduate Student or Yale University Graduate Student Seeking Digital Advertising Positions or Junior Environmental Studies Major at Yale University).
  • Photo: This is the first image a viewer will have of you. Be mindful of the image you want to project and be sure that it is appropriate for the audience who will be viewing it.
  • LinkedIn URL: Claim your personalized URL.
  • Summary: Use this section to highlight your key work experiences and accomplishments. Summarize your experiences and goals. Who are you, what direction are you going? Include specialties and skills. Keep it concise, specific and keyword rich.

Tip: Sample Summary:
I have devoted my studies to ______, and am seeking employment in the following areas: _______ and _____ . My work as a _____ and ______ complemented my academic coursework at Yale University and allowed me to develop an in-depth understanding of ________. I am excited to apply my strengths in _______ and ________ to the field of ________.

  • Experience: This should include experiences that are relevant to your career goals. You can include activities and leadership roles in this section. Give a brief description of your position, the dates you worked and the name of the organization at which you worked, similar to what you have on your resume.
  • Education: Include, in reverse chronological order, Yale and any other schools or programs.
  • Additional Sections & Information: You can choose to add additional sections to your profile, or incorporate this information in your education, experience or summary sections, such as languages, volunteer experiences, courses, certifications, publications, honors & awards, personal website, groups and associations, interests, skills and expertise
  • Applications: LinkedIn Applications enable you to enrich your profile. Available applications include Creative Portfolio Display, Blog Link, Word Press, Company Buzz
  • LinkedIn Groups: Join as many groups as are of interest to you. You will be included in periodic emails from these groups, and be able to ask questions of and reply to questions of others in the group.
  • Populate your profile with connections: Start by searching for people you already know in the Advanced Search section and send them an invitation to connect. Make sure to customize your invitation. Most people won’t accept an invitation to connect from someone they’ve never met. Online networking is a supplement to real human contact – it does not replace in-person relationship building.

Tip: Sample Yale LinkedIn Groups: STAY, Yale University Alumni, Association of Yale Alumni, Yale Office of Career Strategy, Creative Yale Alumni Network