I teach business and professional writing courses to undergraduates. Earlier this week, I led a workshop for students in Francis Marion University’s Career Connections program. Led by Dr. Ronald Miller, the Career Connections program is a fantastic opportunity for FMU students, and I was glad to be a part of it.
In the workshop I developed, program participants learned about monitoring and developing a professional web presence to aid in the job search. To benefit Career Connections participants and others, I’m publishing my lecture slides and handouts (including an activity guide) at the end of this post.
The workshop began with a brief lecture about monitoring and maintaining one’s online presence or digital footprint. We also discussed the likelihood of hiring managers finding this information and the ways they might use it to make decisions about applicants. After the presentation, students participated in activities to help them use Twitter to establish a professional web presence.
Relevance to Undergraduates and Others
Many of today’s traditional college students are familiar with Twitter, but they use it solely for social and entertainment purposes. As a result, they need guidance in using this social media platform in a professional capacity and with an eye towards securing an internship or post-graduation job.
Developing a professional web presence not only is advantageous to rising university graduates; it also can benefit established professionals who are switching careers. Even if you’re happy in your current position, developing a professional web presence keeps your name out there in the event other opportunities were to arise. This is called the passive job search.
Sources and Resources
The workshop materials below are based on my teaching, research, experiences being on the academic and non-academic job markets while in graduate school, and observations of leaders in the field.
As an educator, I’m especially indebted to Mark Schaefer’s book, The Tao of Twitter. It describes how to use Twitter for professional development, but it also illuminates the measurable, tangible benefits of networking online. These success stories provide valuable incentives for skeptical students who think Twitter simply is a way to keep up with friends and celebrities.
Job seekers and educators also may be interested in Karl Stolley’s How to Design and Write Web Pages Today. In the past, I assigned students the chapter “Why Write for the Web,” which includes extensive information on privacy and safety concerns.