What does your on-line image look like?

To say social media has infiltrated our lives is an understatement. From uploading videos of your cat purring on YouTube, broadcasting what you ate for lunch on Facebook, tweeting about being in class or blogging about your exotic travels, we can’t help but share our day’s activities with the world. The ability to express ourselves to so many people in myriad ways is liberating, no doubt, however, as we’ve all seen or perhaps experienced, it can also bite you in the butt. As an example, our office receives daily Google alerts for the Josef Korbel School, University of Denver, Christopher Hill, etc. You will be amazed at what pops up in our alerts with these keywords, most in a professional context, some, let’s just say inappropriate.

While many of you may be rolling your eyes, milliseconds away from closing this window on your computer, STOP and take 1 minute and 36.333 seconds out of your busy day and read this post.

Did you know as many as 70% of employers report that they have rejected a candidate due to on-line information about him or her?  Did you know 85% of employers have made a hiring decision after seeing a positive on-line presence? Our Director of the Career and Professional Development Office, RaeAnn Bories-Easley, along with the staff at Josef Korbel School asks you to think about what this mean for you and your use of Facebook, LinkedIn and other on-line networking tools.  As you conduct your job and internship searches, be aware of what access unfamiliar people have to your profiles and how you present yourself.

Bories-Easley shares the following tips on minimizing negative and maximizing positive impressions.


While this is a tool to keep in touch with friends, you don’t want potential employers to see party photos and compromising comments to and about you.  After you go through your Facebook account and “scrub it clean” of anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see, go to the  “privacy settings” in the upper right corner of Facebook’s “account” menu and follow the steps below to limit access to your profile and other information:

1.       What can “non-friends” see about you?  In the privacy settings, you can control who can see what you post.  If you click on “Customize Settings” and then on “Preview My Profile” you’ll be able to see what your Facebook profile page looks like to a general Facebook user who isn’t your “friend.”

2.       Albums:  Click on “customize settings” and then on “preview my profile” and then buried under “edit album privacy” you can set permissions for each album individually.

3.       Places settings:  Did you know that your friends can check you into Places on Facebook unless you change that setting?  In “Customize Settings” you can edit the “check me into Places” to disable this.

4.       Apps and Websites:  In the main privacy settings  menu, click on “Apps and Websites” on the lower left.  Here you can choose which apps can access your account and determine who can see our games and app activities.  You can also decide whether or not your Facebook profile will show up in the results of a Google search.

5.       Facebook Ads:  Under the “Account” pull-down choose “Account Settings” and then the last tab on the top is “Facebook Ads.”  Here you can choose to block your friends from seeing your information on platform pages as well as your social actions in Facebook Ads.

I (Nicole Vilegi) recommend checking out Huffington Post’s 16 “funniest Facebook snafus of all time.”
DISCLAIMER: These posts are really not funny, but rather disturbing so I caution you in advance that they are highly inappropriate but are being used to prove a point. The first one is particularly relevant for those of you on the job/internship hunt or currently temping with an employer you may want to work with on a  more permanent basis.


Take a minute and search Twitter for “I hate my job” or “I hate my boss” – you’ll be amazed at how many people don’t mind sharing that information with the world.  Maybe they don’t know that every single tweet shows up on Google or maybe they don’t care. I hope you are not one of these people. Even if you hate your job, but you want to keep it, be careful what you post.  If you post it, someone will read it.


This on-line tool, designed for professional networking, is an increasingly used resource and can connect you with people and organizations in your career field.  Having a very professional profile on LinkedIn is the first step to using this networking tool, but being an active user is key!  Below are some tips on creating a professional profile and using LinkedIn to make connections:

1.       Complete your LinkedIn profile to 100%.  This includes a professional picture, a professional headline, a professional summary, education and experience.  You might look at how others have written their profiles to get ideas.  Your goal is to have potential employers see all the professional things you’ve done, so unlike with Facebook, you don’t want to restrict privacy or withhold pertinent information.  If you have worked or plan to work in the security field, we are happy to help you create an informative, yet appropriately discrete profile.

2.       Once you are comfortable with your profile, include the link to it on your resume to drive potential employers to the information you want them to see about you, but don’t have space to include on your resume.

3.       Join at least 10 groups on LinkedIn including the University of Denver: Josef Korbel School of International Studies group and the University of Denver Alumni group.  To search for other groups of interest, you can type key words into the groups search box and also look at the profiles of others to see what groups they belong to.

4.       Once you have joined groups, follow their discussions, make comments and start discussions.  This gets your name out there.

5.       You can use LinkedIn to find people who work where you are interested in working and in the fields you are interested.  Once you have found them, you might send them a professional and appropriate note asking for an informational interview.


Blogging or commenting on others’ blogs can be a great way of developing a professional internet image especially if you are writing on your area of professional expertise.  However, keep in mind that potential employers may use your content as a writing sample in making hiring decisions.


Remember that anything on the Internet is public domain and can show up in a search.  Go to http://www.google.com and search by your name.  Hopefully your professional LinkedIn profile pops up first.  If anything else pops up in the search, make sure it’s something you’d feel comfortable with a potential employer seeing.  Also at the Google home page, in the upper left corner click on images and then search on your name and do the same for videos.

In addition to the professional concerns associated with inappropriate posting, HuffingtonPost provides 13 more personal things not to post on Facebook.

If you made it this far, thank yourself. I hope, for your sake, there are a few nuggets to take away from this post and you will expeditiously implement some (all) of the recommended revisions.  If you are a social media professional rock star and already maintain a professional online presence, bravo… please share your tips/tricks with us and pass this post along to someone who isn’t as savvy.


Nicole Vilegi
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
Josef Korbel School of International Studies


2 thoughts on “What does your on-line image look like?

  1. Pingback: Think long term « Josef Korbel School Office of Admissions

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