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Six Tips for Managing Your Online Persona After #LawSchool via @SpecialCounsel http://bit.ly/2aVVdg0 #lawgrad pic.twitter.com/Z2hrMYw2yb
Most recent law school graduates have spent their entire life with the Internet as a constant presence. They have also spent a fair amount of time documenting their life on social media. You may or may not have considered the fact that the Internet is forever, and what was fun and exciting when you were 18 may show up as a red flag to an employer when you are just launching your career, especially in the legal profession. The idea is to review and edit, if necessary, your online persona in such a way as to present you in the best possible light. So let’s look at ways to clean up that online persona and create one that makes you most palatable to potential legal employers.
Six Tips for Managing Your Online Persona After Law School
1. Search for Your Own Name
The first step is to see yourself as the online world sees you. To do this search your own name on Google and Bing and any variations of your name you might have used. Use an incognito browser tab. All of the major browsers allow you to do this and it opens a browser window that doesn’t recall any of your preferences or information preventing the search results from being skewed. Doing this will allow you to see yourself as the rest of the Internet sees you to see how much repair work you really need.
2. Prioritize Which Sites or Information Needs to be Remediated
As it is likely you have a Facebook profile, it’s the most logical place to start. View your profile as the public to see what a potential employer who is not a connection may see. If you are buried far down the list of possible people, you have a lot less to worry about. If you have a very unique name, that won’t be the case. If you haven’t already, lock down your page so that only friends can see it. Check the Facebook Help Center for tips and tricks on securing your page via the desktop or mobile apps. As Facebook has changed in the past, so have these privacy settings and defaults; make sure to keep up to date on the security of your page. Remember to check the options for who can see posts you’ve been tagged in; your friends might not care as much about privacy as you and if they’ve tagged you in less than flattering pictures, you don’t want an employer to see those. Don’t hesitate to ask friends to remove photos even if you are not tagged in them.
3. Lock Down Social Media Profiles
Facebook also allows you to change your name. You might want to consider that; changing your profile name to something that is acceptable to Facebook, such a JJ Smith rather than John Smith, and then create a new profile under your full legal name, such as John Jacob Smith, which you could then populate in an appropriate manner, giving the profile the persona you wish to reinforce. This is a somewhat longer term project but allows you to begin building that professional appearance needed for your career.
Clean up your Twitter account. If you’ve been an active user you make have quite a bit of information out that that can be found, hopefully not under your own name. If necessary deactivate your current account or set it to private, but don’t hesitate to create a professional Twitter account that can be linked to you.
4. Create Professionally-focused Accounts on Social Media Sites
If you haven’t already, it’s time to create a LinkedIn profile. Populate it as much as possible, making sure to highlight academic awards and related work experience. You’re new to the workforce, so a lack of experience isn’t a negative. Try to make as many potentially professional connections as possible. Until you have a good solid base of career related contacts, try to avoid connecting with the local coffee shop, your barber or hairdresser, or even family members in unrelated professions. LinkedIn contacts should reflect your professional life, not your personal or family connections.
5. Create Personal Web Pages Linked Directly to You with Professional Content
You might want to consider creating your own vanity web page, be it on a site on site like WordPress or as a dedicated domain name (e.g. johnjacobjinglehimerschmidt.com). Here you post your resume, Curriculum Vitae, links to professional associations, and other business focused content. These types of sites will return high in search rankings and allow your professional image to be reinforced.
6. Develop Good Posting Habits
If you’ve been a bit of a wild child, and public about it, you might want to consider the use of a professional reputation management service, not for ongoing reputation management services, but for their expertise in finding and repairing or hiding unflattering information about you on the Internet. These services can be pricey, but the best of them do good job of making what you want to appear show up at the top of internet search results.
If you’re ready to launch your legal career or considering an advancement in the legal profession contact Special Counsel today to learn more about opportunities available to you.
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