Crafting Your Online Persona

In the coming years, Gen Y will be the largest demographic wave of young people competing for jobs. For those of us Baby Boomers who remember coming out of college and having so many of “us” that the jobs paid little and you had to really compete to get an interview, that will again become the norm.

So, what can give those young people an edge? Having a good online persona requires crafting it like a good resume. Here are some ideas:

  • Clean up Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat – in essence, really think about the audience and the consequences before you post that the photo, or that comment.  You can show that you are a positive, upbeat and thoughtful person, or…not.  Things that can stay around are photos that are not appropriate, like showing you and friends drinking, or worse.  Written messages that are misspelled and use bad grammar can make it look like you are careless in your communications.  Even if it is done in jest or for effect, it could reflect badly.
  • Avoid using slang, “F” bombs, and embarrassing or insulting language.  You may be perceived as one who is not careful in personal communication, and you might be the same on the job.
  • Do write interesting articles on subjects related to the career you are interested in or your own expertise and link them from your social media.  Even if you are not a writer, you can put together a couple of short paragraphs to show insights or interest in topics an employer wants to see.

Above all, if you are a parent of a teenager or young adult, watch over their social media to point out how a distasteful post or photo will not add to their online persona.  My 15-year old may roll her eyes when I see something I don’t like and give her this advice.  However, it has gotten her to think! She has even started to critique posts and photos from other school mates.

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