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Your Public Self

Were you aware that you already have a public image? Is it ready for the professional world? If you are conducting a job or internship search it should be. Every interaction that an employer has with you creates an impression – and you want these to be positive.

We strongly recommend that you complete the worksheet, 'Personal Internet Presence: Job Seeker Self-Audit' developed by the Purdue University Center for Career Opportunities, to assess your presence on the internet.

Just what is your public image?

Your email address is a part of your public image. If it is cute or funny it may not be creating the professional image you want. Your email address should be simple and professional. For example, student@school.com is fine, while heybabe@school.com is not. You can create a professional email address without using your school server but be sure the name you choose for yourself is appropriate.

The message on your answering machine is part of your public image. It should also be simple and professional. Avoid having music or funny messages on your answering machine. Most employers will just hang up if they hear this.

Many students havepersonal websites, blogsand/or are registered on sites such asFaceBookorMySpace. These social networking sites are also a part of your public image. Some employers are now doing web searches of job candidates. Posting inappropriate material may influence an employer's impression of you and harm your chances of receiving a job offer. Even something posted as a joke could backfire on you. Those entering the field of education need to be particularly vigilant as many colleges must verify your 'fitness to teach' and they look unfavorably on photos or stories reflecting inappropriate activities. Likewise, you should be careful about putting too much personally identifiable information on the web because it could endanger your safety.

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