Editorial: Keep your cyberself squeaky clean for the job world

By The Beacon | October 3, 2012 9:00pm

(Photo courtesy of fromthebarn.org)


October 1 marked the last day for seniors to register for graduation, and for many that was the first of series of wake up calls from the world of work.

For those whose time on The Bluff is about to end, there are many pitfalls but also ways to get a leg up on getting a job or internship. In order to become marketable post graduation, current UP seniors and students of all levels need to be more aware of their online presence and use their cyber self to their advantage.

Have you Googled yourself recently? It's a good idea just to see what pops up because it is becoming more and more likely that the first thing employers do when they take a look at your job application is a brief online search. If you don't cleanse Facebook or embarrassing photos from freshman year you are basically hitting the "I'm feelin' lucky" button on real life. Update your privacy settings so that only friends can see your online profiles, untag the worst of the worst photos and if you really need to keep it clean make a separate profile for promoting yourself as a professional.

Social media can be beneficial to marketing yourself. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to connect with potential employers, a community of professionals in your field and host an online portfolio. Increasingly, many employers even require you to have an online portfolio before applying for a job. "Mahara" on the Pilots UP page, while likely an icon you overlook everyday, is a great way to host an online portfolio that you can send to employers without having to sign up for LinkedIn.

Online profiles aside, the age-old method of networking is still the best way to get a foot in the working world. According to the U.S. bureau of Labor statistics, 70 percent of jobs are found through networking. While this statistic is a little disconcerting for those who are trying to get into fields without any solid connections, at the very least UP students are plugged into an alumni network. Former Pilots can help students in the world of work, or at least get them into a Timbers game for free now and again at alumni socials.

The most important way to make yourself marketable post-graduation is through internships. The University of Portland, while encouraging and often times requiring internships for graduation, doesn't offer explicit experience based learning opportunities for every major in the classroom. Even if the surveying classes out on the Academic quad seem like their wasting their time doing the same thing day after day in orange jerseys at least they're practicing their craft.

For those who need help applying for jobs and internships, UP does provide the Career Services Center below Orrico Hall as a resource to help students across departments prepare for internships, jobs or even to decide which major to pick. As any of the members of the career services team will tell you, identifying early what internships you want to apply for is the best way to get a leg up on the competition. Students should make an appointment sooner rather than later, even if they're interested in summer internships.

Amidst all the pressure to get a job in a tough economy after graduating or winning competitive internships, the most important thing to remember is not to get frustrated. Professional development takes years and often having jobs you hate make you realize what it is you want to do in life. By touching up your online presence and hiding those not so desirable photos, you put yourself in the position to jump on any opportunity that comes your way. Being ready to act at a moment's notice could be the best way to get a job or internship.

Editorial Policy The editorial reflects the majority view of The Beacon Editorial Board. The editorial does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the collective staff or the Administration of the University of Portland. Other submissions in this section are signed commentaries that reflect the opinion of the individual writer. The Student Media Committee, providing recommendation to the publisher, oversees the general operation of the newspaper. Policy set by the committee and publisher dictates that the responsibility for the newspaper's editorial and advertising content lies solely in the hands of its student employees.