It’s the 21st century, so of course you’re online.
How to put your best foot forward?
Some general philosophy:
- Use your name consistently online:
I use “benslivka” wherever possible in site URLs:
- Be professional:
If you don’t want a prospective employer to see it, don’t post it.
- Use proper English:
www.amazon.com/The-Elements-Style-Third-Edition/dp/0205191584 is my favorite book (the later editions are bloated, precisely the opposite of what Strunk & White preached).
- A personal website:
- I have several, but one is just fine for you (www.slivka.com is mostly travel photos, www.benslivka.com is this WordPress blog, www.slivka.org is my family foundation, www.benslivka.net redirects to my LinkedIn profile).
- I recommend www.godaddy.com as your Registrar, then use www.WordPress.com or some other hosting solution.
- Try to find a short domain name that is still (mostly) your name. Some I’ve seen recently include www.gcan.co, www.nicolezhu.io, and www.RobinBrewer.com.
- Avoid long domain names, e.g., www.FirstnameMiddle1Middle2Lastname.com!
- At a minimum, you want to include a link to your LinkedIn profile (online resume) and a short 1-2 paragraph summary about yourself.
- After that, a portfolio of your work (github, code for projects, links to websites and/or videos you have created, etc.) really helps you stand out.
- Definitely see what other high school and college students are doing with their personal websites, but…
- Don’t be intimidated at the prospect of building a website: even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
- Your email address:
- Mine is firstname.lastname@example.org. I was lucky to have an uncommon last name and to be around to register slivka.com in 1997.
- If you’ve registered a short domain name, use that for your email, too (probably redirect or host at gmail).
- Otherwise, use a short gmail.com address (I have email@example.com, too).
- Be professional (FuzzyBunny34@ may have been cute when you were 12…).
- Your LinkedIn profile:
- Pro Tip: Be sure to edit your LinkedIn URL to remove the random letters/numbers that LI appends at the end of your default URL.
- This is your online resume, so keep it up to date, and have a “paper” resume as back-up.
- Your college information should include GPA, and for STEM degrees, you can list major (CS, EE, Math, etc.) courses.
- Be sure to include high school performance (GPA, class rank, component SAT/ACT scores, AP tests, and key achievements (3rd place state chess championship, yes; president of French Club, no).
- “Work Experience” is paid work, “Volunteer” is un-paid.
- Be sure to include hours/week and total weeks for every job, project, etc.
- Please list specific, concrete information for each effort: how many customers served, how many lines of code written, dates, dollars saved, etc.
- Your Resume:
- Create a printable version (likely in Microsoft Word) of your LI information.
- Focus on your most important information so it all fits on one printed page.
- Using Twitter:
- Even if you’re not going to use Twitter much (I don’t), you should still create an account so no one can be the “fake BenSlivka”. 😉
- Unless you aspire to work in media, Twitter is unlikely to advance your career.
- Using Facebook:
- I joined northwestern.thefacebook.com in 6/2004 when it launched at NU and was only open to people with @northwestern.edu email addresses.
- You can spend hours/day on Facebook if you’re not careful.
- Be careful.
- YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.:
- My YouTube channel (www.videos.slivka.com) has more than 1,200 videos, but then I’m unemployed, I travel a lot, and I captured my first digital still image in 1996 and my first digital video in 1997.
- Unless you’re a video artist, post sparingly on YouTube.
- Ditto for Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.
Please let me know if you have any questions.