Optimizing Your Online Presence in 5 Steps


As you explore post-PhD employment opportunities, it is important to assess your online presence before hiring committees do.


A great résumé, a flawless cover letter, and compelling references that truly highlight your skills and talents are not sufficient. Before you submit your material and contact employers of interest, there is one very important thing you need to do before pressing SEND: You absolutely need to optimize your online presence.




Here are five easy steps you can take to shine in the virtual world:


STEP 1: Google yourself. The hiring committee sure will. If you want to see what they might think of you before even contacting you, conduct a simple Google search for your name. Where are you present? Are you present at all? Where is your name missing? Once you’ve assessed what is said or not said about you, it’s time to move to the next step.


STEP 2: Pull yourself together. As amazing as your qualifications might be on paper, if you’ve demonstrated bad judgment by posting inappropriate pictures of yourself on Facebook or Instagram or by making politically incorrect comments on Twitter, you might be giving employers reason to overlook your application. Take a few minutes to adjust privacy settings to keep things…private. Make sure you are sharing what you want with the right people.


STEP 3: Embrace the 21st century. Whatever you may think of the voyeuristic culture we live in, you need to make sure that you exist on social media. Although you might be caught up in the romance of living in another century, you need at least to have a LinkedIn account. While Twitter and Facebook are also great networking tools, LinkedIn is essential if you want to explore PhD employment opportunities and avoid appearing like an oddball trapped in a time warp.


STEP 4: Make it easy for prospective employers to find you. If you are not easy to find in search engine results, here are a few tricks to fix the problem:

  • Buy your domain name, or choose a URL with your name in it to gather all your social information in one place.
  • Create your own website to pop up easily on search results. About.Me, WordPress, Tumblr, and Pinterest provide simple website creation and hosting tools.
  • Don’t be afraid to be vain: Vanity URLs (links that contain your name) are a great way to optimize your presence. (Here’s how to do it on Facebook and on LinkedIn.)


STEP 5: Show yourself in your best light. Keep in mind that you don’t have to become a clone devoid of opinions, passions, and beliefs. The main goal is to get rid of information that doesn’t reflect well on you and replace it with positive material that provides the image you want other people to have of you.


As you explore post-PhD employment opportunities, keep one thing in mind: Perception is reality!



Don’t know how to position yourself online in a compelling manner? We’re here to help! Sign up for a free consultation, and learn how we can provide the one-on-one counseling you need to find a job that is the best fit for you.

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