Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Refining Your Online Persona: Book-Job Boot Camp, Week 1

Ah, LinkedIn, the social medium wherein kegstand photos are replaced with resume bullets and Groups revolve around career goals instead of bands, parties, and chain letters. For the young professional, LinkedIn is an ideal side-kick, a place to project only the information that you want employers to know about. 

You may have gotten a LinkedIn profile as soon as you started looking for internships, or at the urging of your college’s career center. Your profile doesn’t have to overflow with information (it shouldn’t, in fact), but it should be detailed and up-to-date. This is what will make it of use to potential employers who, increasingly, are looking applicants up on Linkedin before calling them. You don’t want to be in what was once my situation: Random House (Random House!) calls and says they like your resume (!!), but are confused why you’re applying since LinkedIn says you’re currently at another house. Cue mammoth embarrassment.

But even for digital natives who have used other social media for years, LinkedIn’s buttoned-up reputation can make some young people nervous and confused. I felt the same way until I realized that using LinkedIn is hugely different from using Facebook. The secret to LinkedIn, my friends, is groups.
For now, make sure your profile is in order, with as many categories filled out as possible, and then search under “Groups” in the top menu bar; you’ll want to choose “Professional” or “Networking” from the pull-down menu and use “publishing” or “books” as your keywords. Which groups to join: those that are open-ended enough to include anyone who’s interest is book business, and that describe themselves as focused on open dialogue. It might take a few days to be approved, but once you are, this is where the magic of LinkedIn happens. Oh, and your first new group should absolutely be Trendsetter’s: Next week we’re going to devote a whole day to making LinkedIn Group “magic” make sense.

***

Speaking of kegstands, it’s time to say goodbye to your days of voyeuristic photo/wall/status/video-posting on Facebook. To bulletproof your Facebook so that a potential employer never stumbles across that photo of you holding a giant FourLoko or the status about that time you almost got arrested or that drunk video you posted on your roommate’s wall…

  • There’s a difference between hiding certain content on your Facebook, and hiding that you even have a profile at all. The most important setting, with regard to potential employers, is the one that limits how non-friends can search for you. To edit who can and who can’t, click under “Account” (in the upper right hand corner of any Facebook page), and then hit Privacy Settings (this is all in the image below). The first header reads “Connecting on Facebook”; click View Settings (1). The first setting on this page, “Search for You on Facebook”, has a very dubious message next to it: “This lets friends and family find you in Facebook search results. Set this to Everyone or you could miss friend requests”. But leaving this open to Everyone, means Anyone. I set mine to “Friends and Networks”, so that only those who went to my high school or university can even see that I have a Facebook profile..
  • Only let friends see your profile info: You don’t need a high school email address to join a high school network, so theoretically an employer could see that I went to Ridgefield High School, join that network, and see that I have a profile. So back on the main Privacy Settings page, under Customize Settings (2), I make everything “Friends Only”.
  • Un-tag “questionable” photos: I always hear stories about employers who hire hackers to view your Facebook profiles regardless of your privacy settings. Whether or not this is urban legend, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And yes, “questionable” does mean photos of wild partying, large expanses of skin, peeing (amazing how many photos of people peeing I see on Facebook), or smoking anything. Also keep in mind that statuses can be as incriminating as photos, so make sure that at least the last couple pages of posts include only “clean” updates (Good: “Excited to start my job search!”, “Check out this great book I just read!”; Bad: “So hungover”, “F*** you, so-and-so”).
  • Think your name is common enough that you don’t have to worry about being found? Wrong. Even you Katie Joneses and Mike Smiths should be fortifying your Facebooks. Hundreds of profiles may result from searching your name, but only one person comes up when someone searches an email address. So make sure that either you know what comes up when people search you (if you followed the directions above, that’ll be nothing) or that you use a different email account for sending out job applications than you have listed on your Facebook.

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  1. […] off our post from Week 1 about refining your online persona, it may be helpful to start a blog before or during your job search. You may have heard about […]

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