Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Why your professional life should be online

This blog first appeared in LinkedIn as part of their Student Voices series on May 19th, 2015: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-your-professional-life-should-online-josuel-plasencia.

First things first. Google your name (along your college or workplace if your name is not very unique). Gauge your online presence with the search results.

Millennial’s are missing out on a large opportunity to use the internet to grow as professional individuals and as an engaged community that supports each other. Every now and then I find myself asking many of my college friends, why they don’t have a personal website (seeing how easy it is to make one) or why they don’t pursue a professional presence online (one that extends just keeping a LinkedIn). I especially ask those that live extraordinary lives doing remarkable things every day.

Interesting enough, many young people are expanding their internet presence, but focusing only on their personal lives and not their professional. I always found that shocking, and often counter intuitive. Why don’t student leaders tell their stories online, with the many opportunities to do so, and the opportunity to share it with a larger audience for the mutual benefit of both parties?

When I started thinking about what my first blog post on LinkedIn should be, it didn’t take long to realize that the “why and how” of using the internet for not only our personal, but also our professional lives, should be the focus.

Why your professional life should be online 

The Internet is only going to become more popular

The statistics are staggering, according to the Pew Research Center, 89% of all 18 to 29-year olds in the United States use social networking sites, and that generation will get older and bring this percentage with them, all while the access to the internet will become more widespread. This will mean that the internet users and usage will only increase, to incredible levels. A relevancy so large that it is almost difficult to grasp, especially with the internet coming to everything from your chair to your desk lamp with the internet of things.

Connecting the dots of your work

They are so many stories, and so many occurrences that we will never know, if you limit your online usage to only personal use. All the time, I see a post online and I follow up on that post with a question, or with a connection of some sort. When you post online, you give your network the power to connect the dots, that is perhaps with a person they know, or an event, an aspiration, a way to support. The opportunities are endless. When you post online, you open a world of curiosity, and maybe even an opening for others or yourself.

You are already in the game, and you are either winning or losing 

That’s right, right now, at this moment you have a number attached to your unique online identity (your online id being easy as just your name, and your place of work/college) on how much pull you have in the most important field in the game, the internet. This is not even a situation of the future but of the present. Right now if you go to Klout, you will be able to see your score and see how much power you have in the internet, 0 being you have no power, and 99 meaning your Barack Obama (only person with a 99 score, and the person with the most power). Here is how the score works, here is the distribution of the score, and the top scores. My score is 64.

People are watching

And this is more than an Airbnb and Uber rating. Here are some statistics from CareerBuilder on the online behaviors of companies that are hiring:

  • 65 percent of companies see if the candidate presents himself/herself professionally.
  • 51 percent see if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture.
  • 45 percent learn more about the candidate’s qualifications.
  • 35 percent see if the candidate is well-rounded.
  • 12 percent look for reasons not to hire the candidate.

May the odds be in your favor.

Someone is going to tell your story if they haven’t already

Everyone, even if they have ignored it, will have an online story, found with a simple “google” of their name (and or company/college, if your name is common). Enough content would have been posted, enough access would made available, that those sitting in a cave would have an online blueprint. Hence, it is important that one not ignore the trends and write their own story, and take control of their online image.

Alright, buy how? Join me for the follow up to this blog’ “How your professional life should be online” next week. Thank you for reading.