Cleaning Up Your Online Presence for Your Career

In times past, someone had to actually meet you in person to get any idea of who you were. With the advances of technology, anyone can access information about you at the click of a button. This notion may sound a little invasive and even creepy. However, when you have the right information available for potential employers to see, you won’t be caught off guard. Social media has a way of making you want to post every detail of your life for all to see: the good, the bad, and the ugly. For the sake of your career and reputation, keep the bad and the ugly things you share to a minimum. Here are some tips on how to clean up your online presence for your career.

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Search Yourself

For starters, in order to clean up your act, you need to see what others see when they search your name. Log out of your Google account before you do the search. If your search turns up empty, this is neither a good or bad thing. However, you want to leave an impression on your searchers, whether it be a potential employer or colleague. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be viewed two ways; when you’re logged out and when you’re logged in and view yourself “as public.” These two methods should give you a good idea of what others see with an intentional search and if they happen upon your profile.

Scrub Your Image Clean

If you find any results that are less than perfect, you need to get rid of it. The last thing you want to do is have to explain to a potential employer about embarrassing or derogatory pictures they may find.

Google: Simply submit a request to remove any pages that contain the bad information. The content must meet certain criteria in order to be removed. Other search engines, such as Bing, also have a takedown request process.

Facebook: This site allows you to limit visibility through the privacy settings. Although some content on Facebook may be beyond your control, you can un-tag yourself from photos so that they don’t appear on your wall.

Twitter: Although you can make your profile private, others can still quote and respond to your publicly. Keep your tweets clean to lower the risks of mishaps and misunderstandings.

LinkdIn: Ensure that your profile is complete so that searchers can get all the information they need. Any articles you post need to be relevant and fitting to who you are.

Pump Up the Positive

Make your online presence pop by enhancing social media and using a nameplate site. Add your hobbies and interest to profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Make sure all of your photos are flattering and respectful on all of your social media accounts. Make your own album of you hard at work in class, on an internship, or volunteering. Make a site that will showcase all things you. Your nameplate site is like a virtual resume that offers much more than a single piece of paper. Sites like Seelio are ideal for students to display their skills although there may not be much work experience. If you want to step it up a notch, own your own domain. Post projects you have worked on or events that you have attended relating to your education and career. Using your domain as your email is a great way to look professional and drive newcomers to view all at the same time.

Visit www.bridge.jobs to search for internship opportunities in Rhode Island.

Don’t Do It! Big mistakes to avoid as an intern

It’s only natural that we would make mistakes early on in our professional lives, and internships are no exception.

In fact, consider yourself lucky if you’re just off a summer internship and you haven’t made a compromising, yet common, faux pas like wearing flip flops to work or showing up late to your interview.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

While interns have a history of making real contributions at companies, getting real-world feedback and perhaps doing more than their fair share of filing, you couldn’t make up some of the horror stories interns have endured over the years.

Now we all know that internships can make all the difference between you and your competition when an employer stares down a stack of resumes.

While a high GPA and a challenging course load can attract attention, an internship is really the most effective way of standing apart from your peers.

Just make sure you distinguish yourself in the right way and not by queuing up the secret service or butchering a potential partnership with UPS by FedExing the proposal.

Do Your Homework and Ditch the PJs

Most interns remember to show up early for their first day, yet you’d be surprised how many interns neglect to do their homework beforehand.

Make sure that you, at minimum, do a little digging into the major players and work culture that you’re walking into.

On your first day also make sure to dress the part by remembering that you’re dressing for the position that you want. It’s much better to overdress than under-dress and come off as too casual.

Showing up on the first day in glorified pajamas sends the wrong message to your potential colleagues and shows a disrespect for the company in general. Remember: nobody got fired from an internship for looking too professional.

Treat It Like a Job

On the professionalism point, also remember that this internship could very well open the door to a post-graduation career opportunity. Treating the internship like a bona fide job shows respect for everyone in the office and makes it even easier for your boss to envision you with a job working there in a few years.

As with any job, you need to be organized and show good time management to be truly successful. Irrespective of whether this is a paid internship, your supervisor took a chance on hiring you. Whether you realize it or not, you represent the company that you’re interning with.

Social Media Etiquette

What about social media and internet use? Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are definitely a double-edged sword when it comes to internship etiquette.

While curiosity is a much appreciated form of flattery to extend to most employers – who would be happy to answer your questions in the form of, for instance, a LinkedIn private message – it’s never acceptable to abuse social media on an internship.

Unless your internship involves marketing and PR, you’re going to want to steer clear of Twitter and Instagram while at the office. An even bigger faux pas than whiling away the hours checking your friends’ statuses is using social media sites like Facebook to rant – or worse, confront your employer – about an internship experience that could have gone better.

Barring actual research or texting your mentor a quick question, it’s a good practice to leave web browsing for when you’re off the clock. Some advertising and marketing internship positions might expect you to use your cell phone for professional purposes – just remember that the exception doesn’t prove the rule.

Your (Internship) Questions Answered

You might now be thinking that internships have (to some extent) their own set of rules – a checklist of dos, don’ts and maybes- and you’re right.

You might be wondering, for instance, if it’s OK for you to inquire about possible days off, the parameters of your internship, whether the internship is paid and what a day in the life of an intern working at the company is really like.

All of these issues would be fine to tactfully bring up in the interview phase. It’s not OK, though, to grill a phone screener with intricate questions about the internship, text your supervisor that (alas!) you won’t be making it out today (pick up the phone and call instead!), or insinuate to anyone at the company that you’re just doing the internship as resume padding.

That said, asking your supervisor for small accommodations to make your job easier, or more responsibilities to wring all of the real-world experience out of your time, is usually acceptable.

Just realize that you’re in the internship to serve the company while getting exposure to the industry…and maybe even landing your dream job.

Find an internship and view resources at https://bridge.jobs/Student/Resources.

Transforming an Intern From Blah to Fantastic

In an ideal world, an intern is an indispensable asset to your business and the relationship itself is win-win. The intern is driven to succeed and provides obvious value while in turn, he receives work experience and a professional foot in the door.

As almost every business owner would attest though, the real world is a good deal less ideal and more complicated than the movies. Interns aren’t always Gordon Gekko Jr. when it comes to efficiency and daily motivation.

The jobs that interns perform every day often need more hands-on instruction than simply telling the intern where they can pick up donuts and retrieve your dry cleaning.

Creating a Fantastic Intern

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Interns are usually eager for day one on the job because it gives them a chance to test drive a new career on for size. They can see if they like operating in that type of work environment and really put their skills to the test while networking and creating long-lasting mentor relationships.

Interns Need Roles

In the same way that recognition and awards for employees can increase workplace productivity and keep workers motivated on a daily basis, giving an intern a particular role to fill keeps things fresh and interesting.

Without the extra spice of telling an intern that his job is to “create the greatest marketing campaign the world has ever seen” or telling another intern that her task for the duration of the internship is to “engage 100% with customers,” a lot of interns can feel like your internship is merely a forgettable stepping stone to the job they really want.

Creating a role for every intern also forces you to think though how each of you are going to benefit from the relationship. You could even try letting your next intern pick his own role – just make sure the role’s ambitious enough and not along the lines of “part-time paper pusher.”

Goals and Benchmarks

Speaking of more ambition, make sure to draft a list of approximately a dozen challenging, yet doable, objectives that each intern can checklist off as s/he works through the internship.

Measurable, graduated objectives keep interns on track and gives them a goal to work towards…and maybe someone to impress enough to give them a job.

What are some examples to get you started? Creating a webinar to educate the community about a particular issue relevant to your industry or putting together a questionnaire that finds out what customers really want out of your business is the kind of scale that we’re talking about here.

Without goals, your intern is probably performing at a “blah” level rather than giving you all-star numbers.

Creating a set of measurable goals keeps you both on track and your intern feeling like s/he’s making actual progress. Actually, the feeling of making progress itself ignites a virtuous cycle of higher productivity, creativity and professional excellence.

Focus on Relevant Incentives

Many, maybe most, interns are hoping that their internship turns into a more solid employment opportunity.

Therefore, you might want to get interns more involved in meetings and give them the chance to make their own contributions at conferences and other networking events to make them feel more involved.

Since interns, by and large, tend to be younger and more interested in social media, letting an intern take the helm on a social media outreach program can create noticeably more exposure for your business and a sense of purposeful confidence in your intern.

You’re simultaneously getting the most out of your intern, benefiting your business in tangible ways and perhaps, even training your next employee!

Find resources for creating your internship program at https://bridge.jobs/Employer/Resources

How To Handle Every Internship Challenge With Ease Using These Tips

Students take internships for a variety of different reasons. Usually you’re looking to gain work experience, network with (you hope!) your future colleagues and maybe make a little money on the side (again, fingers crossed.)

What happens though, when internships feel like they’re taking more than they’re giving? If your internship has you feeling like you’re just going through the motions and/or under-worked given the time that you’re putting in, then read on.

Overcoming Internship Challenges

A full three-fourths of college students enrolled in four-year programs are taking on at least one internship to bolster their resumes and apply their classroom knowledge outside of academia.

Internships allow you to network, corral future references, and increase your chances of being offered a job after graduation.

So, what’s the catch? While you can definitely expect to reap all or most of the benefits mentioned up top, there are a few challenges that interns occasionally have to stare down and overcome.

Challenge: Getting Enough Work

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Forbes recently reported that a college internship might be the most surefire way of getting a job after graduation. Not only that – nearly 70% of companies with 100 or more regular staff offered their interns full-time employment post-graduation.

Make sure that you’re getting enough work to make your internship work for you. One common problem that interns face is not getting the hands-on work experience and opportunity to apply knowledge gleaned in the classroom in the real world.

If you finish the day’s work before the lunch bell, so to speak, you are completely entitled to (tactfully) ask for more meaningful work from your supervisor.

Challenge: Lack of Direction

What’s the real culprit behind too little work and too much Instagram-perusing free time on your hands?

Sometimes it’s that you finish your work too quickly while other interns struggle with wading through a mountain of busy work before getting to the tasks that will come in handy in the working world. It could also be a lack of direction from your supervisor.

Asking your employer for more challenging work (translation: less busy work) scheduled ahead of time might pan out in your favor and show your employer that you’re serious about taking the initiative.

If there’s some work within the department that you’d rather be doing, express that to your supervisor or chat it up over lunch with an employee where you’re interning to find out more.

Challenge: More Feedback Needed

You’re in this internship to gain experience and apply your knowledge. Let’s not forget though, that internships are also about contributing real value to the company that you’re working for.

When you finish your work too early or get mixed signals (or no signal at all!) from your supervisor on what to work on next, it’s time to ask for help.

Talk to your supervisor if you’re unsure what to do next. Ask questions at meetings and don’t be afraid to set up weekly sessions with an on-site mentor.

Supervisors can take it for granted that you might not have a firm handle on every aspect of the company; having said that, they’re often more than happy to lend a helping hand.

Communication Is Huge

Getting solid feedback is predicated on good communication – on your part and your supervisor’s.

To sidestep the challenges mentioned above before they develop, it’s important that you convey what you hope to get out of the internship and the kinds of work that you can expect week-in, week-out from your supervisor.

Laying the groundwork this way can put you on the path to your dream internship experience.