Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Strategic Online Presence for Secondary Students

Students may have an online presence distributed over a number of services and created over a number of years. Some may no longer be in use - even forgotten. These present a risk to identity and reputation management.

A strategic approach is needed that will help create a purposeful and professional online identity and reputation.

Students need a safe and secure online presence that they can control and which will populate web searches with positive content.

As seen in the previous two posts students seeking jobs, scholarships and more... also require an ePortfolio, a LinkedIn profile, an online resume and compelling evidence that showcases their knowledge, skills and interests.

An eportfolio could be used as a space to showcase evidence via selected social media as well as displaying a resume and other more formal evidence.

Two or three social media services such as YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn could be selected and managed to host compelling evidence for a job application. These could be linked or embedded inside an eportfolio.

A resume, assessment results and certificates/prizes could also be uploaded to the eportfolio.

The eportfolio owner could then generate a private URL which would be sent to a potential employer.

In this way a student could begin to strategically manage their online presence and reputation.

However, while a student can manage eportfolio access care needs to be exercised with the selected social media services. Potential risks and strategies to deal with these will be examined in the next post.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Social Media is a Window to Your People Skills

100 years ago research showed that 85% of job success comes from well developed people skills.

Today many employers and recruiters believe that social media provides a window onto a person's people skills. They look for evidence that a potential applicant is displaying the following attributes when interacting with others on social media
  • Positive
  • Helpful
  • Respectful
  • Responsible
Evidence of creativity and a range of interests is also considered important.

Employers don't hire candidates when they find:
  •  provocative or inappropriate photographs
  • information related to drinking and drug use
  • candidate bad-mouthing a co-worker or former place of employment 
  • poor communication skills 
  • discriminatory comments

A poor online reputation can affect a student's friendships, relationships and job prospects.

So, students need to be proactive in creating a positive digital identity and reputation across social media.

They need to post content that showcases their knowledge, skills, interests and people skills.
They need to delete unwanted content - if possible.
They need to think before they post - particularly if passionate or emotional or tired.
They need to ask themselves how they may be perceived by others when they join particular groups or 'like' particular jokes.
They need to be comfortable with their privacy settings and understand the difference between the social and the professional.

Otherwise they may never get a return call - and not understand why...

This is a lot to ask of growing teenagers...
How can we as educators help?

One might be tempted to advise not use social media or to make everything private but having no online presence can also be risky: Does this person know how to use social media? Does this person have contemporary technology skills? What are they hiding?

It can also mean missed opportunities when recruiters proactively search online for potential applicants.

Resume bots and other challenges facing students today

I'm working with ePortfolios again after a break of a few years - and some things have changed.

Students in years 9-12 are now being advised to join LinkedIn, create an ePortfolio, manage their reputation across social media and write resumes that will get past a 'resume bot'.

In other words to have the best chance of being shortlisted for a job students need to take a more strategic approach to shaping their online presence. More about that later.

And it's not just about job opportunities. Two thirds of people Google and search social media before beginning a relationship with someone new. Sports administrators scan social media before taking on a new player. Parents Google potential babysitters.

In many ways Google search results are as much about reputation as information.

Back to the resume bot. This software scans resumes for keywords and rejects those that don't make the grade. Resume bots are increasingly used by large organisations in Australia to help process the high volume of online job applications they receive. A resume submitted for a job may never be read by a human.

So one challenge for students today is to know how to get past a resume bot so that they get shortlisted.

My next post looks at the social media challenge facing students.