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Monitoring Your Professional Identity

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We have all heard the stories - teachers let go because of a blog post, peers asked to show their Facebook profiles in an interview, or employers googling their prospects to see what pops up.  According to a survey released by Microsoft, 79% of hiring managers and recruiters in the United States admitted to reviewing information online about interviewees and potential applicants.  70% of those managers and recruiters admitted to rejecting applicants due to uncovering an offensive social media profile.  As technology and social networking continue to flourish, as a job candidate, particularly for a teaching position, it is up to you to monitor your professional identity.  As soon as you begin interacting with a school or you apply to a job, an employer could choose to google you to see what pops up.  As a job seeker or an employee of a school district it is up to you to maintain a positive reputation online.  What does this mean exactly?

  • Privacy settings - if you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media account, make sure your privacy settings are set appropriately.  You typically want only those you choose to see your posts to see them.  Adjust your settings and then test them - make sure they are working the way you want them to.
  • Are you a blogger?  If so, just know that you should not be complaining about schools, students, other teachers, etc. publically on your blog.  Additionally, know that often in blogs you may disclose information that is protected in a job search process - your religion or political affiliation for example.  Disclosing this information is a personal decision, but you want to be aware that employers may have stereotypes or biases associated with different roles, which ultimately could impact your job search.

These are just a few things to consider while you begin to monitor your presence online.  There are many resources available to help you learn more about monitoring your online reputation, including this website: https://www.backgroundcheck.org/reputation-management/students/, which includes suggestions on how to continually monitor your accounts and to avoid any mishaps.

One final thought - although this article focused on some negatives associated with social media, you can use your social media to enhance your job search by branding yourself as an expert in your field.  To do this, focus your social media strategy on best practices in your field, follow experts in your field, start discussions around interesting topics, and engage in conversation online around education and teaching.

Christine Falcone, MS, NCC

Career Counselor

Saint Joseph's University (Pennsylvania)

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