Doing Damage Control to Your Online Rep

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Doing Damage Control to Your Online Rep

Attention college students – unfortunately that sad, sad time has come. There are officially a finite number of days left to grab a beer at your favorite bar, attend that themed frat party and haze some freshmen just to remind them that even though they survived their first year of college, they are still the low man on the totem pole – at least for a few more days. Because along with April showers come April tears… tears over the fact that your year at college is fast coming to an end and all that’s left to comfort you is the Big, Bad Real World and rent for that stuffy studio apartment.

For some of you (and for the lucky ones), summer will mean a time in which you can throw dodge balls, compete in Color War games and chaperone camp socials, as you are still young enough where it is not totally frowned upon to spend the glorious summer days outside, basking in the sun as a camp counselor. (I must put a plug in here, however, that it is never too early to start grabbing summer internships because then what type of seasoned college graduate would I be?)

And, for a good majority of you twenty-somethings, the start of summer will mean a cold hard introduction to a season filled with mindless tasks such as filing, coffee runs and administrative work –the glorified life of an unpaid college intern.

But for the few of you who can now legally drink, you are hopefully embarking on a season full of job searches, interviews or, if you are lucky, real work as you say goodbye to your familiar college quads and hello to the post grad life.  And while the post grad life has a lot to offer – your first real pay check, a sense of accomplishment and a cushy living situation at Mom and Dad’s – it should also serve as a wakeup call asking if you are ready to compete in this Real World.

I recently came across a great article from U.S. News that was targeted at recent college grads and included five critical steps they should take to make sure their online reputation is in order, particularly as they dive head first into the job application pool. It’s a post worthy of sharing and examining.

The five steps, according to the post, are to Google yourself (to see what comes up); claim your domain name and build a personal website (mostly so no other John Smith’s can steal your domain); set up profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (and not just to share your thoughts of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” but to promote some of your best work); do some basic search engine optimization (link all your online content together); and sign up for alerts (so you know when others are talking about you).

“Job-seekers who take charge of their own online reputations will benefit in the long run,” Miriam Salpeter, a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers, explains in the post.

College grads, I want to draw your attention to Salpeter’s second point of claim your domain name as this is perhaps one of the most crucial steps you can do. By buying a personal URL such as, which can cost as low as $10 a year, not only are you ensuring that no one else can buy it and scam you, but you are also giving yourself the motivation to do something positive with your personal brand. Use that site to put up your most recent photography work. Use it to host a blog about your thoughts on the debt crisis if you want to ultimately get into economics. Or use it to display pictures from your latest architecture project. Your personal URL will become your new resume in this technologically advanced world and increase your chances of being scouted or recruited.

It’s a simple step, as are the others, but purchasing your own domain will ensure that when a prospective employer types your name into Google, your personal website displaying your latest and best work shows up. And after all that hard work, who wouldn’t want to hire you?

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1 Comment

Yeah, I also think that it is important to have a personal URL. The personal domain guarantees for your serious intentions.

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