female typing on a computerWhen you’re searching for an internship or job, making a good first impression is important. A majority of employers report that they check social media when screening candidates. Employers most likely start with LinkedIn, but they may expand to other sites like Twitter and Instagram. With this, it’s more important than ever to make sure your online presence is in top-shape.

As companies begin recruiting now for summer interns and soon-to-be college graduates, this is a great time to update your online profiles. Here are three tips to help you get started.

1. Clean up your social media

Search your name with Google and check various social networks to see what potential employers would see if they searched for you online. This includes photos and any interactions you’ve had such as comments, blogs and other online posts. As you review your online activities, look at your online presence from an employer’s perspective. Do you see anything that would make someone not want to hire you? Does your social media accurately represent you and your interests?

If there’s anything that could be perceived as negative or concerning, consider removing it. And update your profiles to show your activities and interests. For example, if you are passionate about making change in the world, show how you’re involved in your community with photos, blogs, shared articles, etc.

Being mindful of how future employers may perceive you online can help ensure you’re a good candidate. Consider if what you’re posting will keep you from landing an internship or job.

2. Build your LinkedIn profile

Many people use LinkedIn to highlight work experience, accomplishments and professional skills. However, your LinkedIn profile can also be a place to share your goals, interests and personality.

Here are some tips for enhancing your LinkedIn profile:

  • Choose a photo that gives a good first impression and looks professional. Career Services offers professional headshots several times throughout the year.
  • Write a compelling summary. This is your chance to introduce yourself and share who you are. Mention any projects or work you’re especially proud of, or any awards or accolades you’ve received.
  • Be descriptive about any internships, volunteering or jobs you’ve had, even if they don’t seem relevant.
  • Include links to any websites, online portfolios or other work you have online. Or, consider creating your own website to showcase your work (Wix is a good resource).
  • Have a career advisor or friend review your profile and give you feedback.
  • Keep your profile updated and current. For more tips, check out these examples of LinkedIn profiles that stand out.

Your LinkedIn account also allows you to connect with others, follow up after interviews and stay in touch with peers and professional colleagues. Check out LinkedIn profiles of professionals you admire, and follow people you’d like to get to know. You can start by making connections with CU Boulder alumni.

3. Create your Handshake account

Just like LinkedIn, Handshake is an online recruiting tool used by hundreds of employers with postings for CU students. By having a public account on Handshake, you can be found by more than 14,000 employers around the world with internship and job opportunities.

Here’s how to get started on Handshake:

  • By uploading your résumé, many of the fields on your profile will fill in automatically. Make sure your major, expected graduation date and GPA were added correctly. If you don’t have a résumé, you’ll need to fill these details in manually.
  • Add a professional photo or headshot.
  • List your work experience with your most recent experience first. You’ll want to list on-campus jobs and volunteer experiences here as well.
  • Be sure to list any student clubs or organizations you are involved with.
  • Skills are the primary field that employers use to search for job or internship candidates. Employers look for behavioral skills, like interpersonal communication and the ability to work with others (teamwork). They will also look for technical skills related to the job position, like writing, using Excel or Photoshop, etc. By listing your skills, you are highlighting character traits and unique abilities that make you employable. 
  • Make your account public. You are five times more likely to be found and messaged by employers if your account is public.

Think of these steps as “curating” your online presence. This is a chance to tell your story, show your individuality and represent who you are. Your online presence holds more potential than just being on a social platform - it is your personal brand!

For more tips on building your online presence, stop by our drop-in hours or make an appointment to meet with a career development advisor.