Five things I'd do if I were graduating in May.Posted on Thu Apr 2 2009
College is great, but it's time to kiss those days of wild and free exhibitionism goodbye.
A good first step is to ramp up your privacy settings in Facebook. That way you don't lose all your photos and other digital keepsakes.
Start by limiting your exposure to non-friends on Facebook. If you're tagged in a photo from a brewfest, you might not want those shots being visible outside your network (which, for some reason, is Facebook's default). Just go to your Profile settings in the Privacy tab and make your settings accordingly.
Then I'd create a pretty thorough set of "friend lists" that covers most of the people you'll meet in the professional world. Then you can customize what each group can see on your profile. I'd recommend having groups for "Close friends," "Casual friends," "Family," "Coworkers" and "Clients." To get started, just go to your Friends page and use the tab on the left to start making lists.
2. Start a new blog for my professional life.
There's no reason to abandon personal blogs you've been writing for years, but it's probably worth starting one that you wouldn't mind sharing with your bosses.
Use it as a place to talk about your career, your industry, your perspectives on emerging trends. If you care enough to have gotten a degree in something, hopefully you care enough to write about it on your own time.
This blog will impress potential employers and set the stage for some paid blogging opportunities once you land a job.
3.Google myself. Then scramble to improve the results.
It's easier than you'd think to "search engine optimize" yourself. But here are a few suggestions:
• Use your real name on Twitter. The quantity of posts will destroy almost anything else Google tracks. Of course, you'll want to make sure it's a feed you want people reading. If it's not, start a new one and keep it (relatively) clean.
• Populate your LinkedIn profile with links to anything and everything you'd want employers to see. The more links, the better. And be sure to customize your URL so that it uses your name instead of a bunch of gibberish code.
• Consider using FriendFeed, which puts your social media channels in one place. I know it's not the world's most beloved social site, but it racks up pretty solid search rankings with minimal effort.
• Go ahead and splurge on buying the main URL that uses your name (MyName.com), if it's still available. Use it to park your virtual portfolio. Speaking of which....
4. Spend a lot more time on my virtual portfolio.
I've long preferred Web site portfolios for design, writing or just about anything. Who wants to deal with a big obnoxious portfolio these days? Well, OK, probably quite a few people. So you'll still want to have something you can bring into an office when you lan an interview.
The good news is, there's little need to build a site from scratch. The blog platform WordPress has become so flexible, you can use it to create almost anything. It's unlikely anyone will even notice you're using a blog. To go even more simple, try out VisualCV.
5. Focus on finding a job where initiative won't go to waste.
This is perhaps the toughest — but also the most important — priority to set for your job hunt. Today's college grads are the keys to helping businesses across the nation understand Generation Y. Don't downplay the role you could play in helping redefine how your employer does business.
That said, always remain humble and willing to listen. The best bosses out there are the ones who are as willing to teach as they are to learn. Find one of those, and it'll probably be many years before you find yourself on the job hunt again.