Creating a professional online presence

Second-year IT students are preparing CVs in preparation for interviewing for placements in 2014. While creating a great CV (and cover letter) used to be the main focus when searching for a job, things are much different today.

Firstly, it’s worth considering your digital footprint (as we did earlier this term). Type your name into a few different search engines — what do you find? Think about creating and sharing your work online, perhaps via a blog or other social media. If you share your work online, then you can link to it from your CV and LinkedIn profile, and others may be able to find it when they search for you online.

Start building your Linked In profile and begin connecting with people. Connect with your classmates and lecturers first, then build from there. Check out the power of LinkedIn by connecting to companies, groups, alumni and others. The following presentation on creating a professional online presence was shared in class — with plenty of information on LinkedIn. Many thanks to Sue Beckingham for most of these slides: thanks, Sue, for sharing your work online with a Creative Commons license so that we can learn from you!

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Finally, here are a few tips, as discussed in class, for creating your CV:

  • Make sure your CV is clear, well-structured and without any errors (you’d be surprised how many typos appear on CVs — making them easy candidates for discarding!). Use a clear, readable font.
  • Put your contact details in the top and centre of the page.
  • The top 1/3 of the page of your CV is prime real estate! Use this space wisely, e.g. by including a Profile, List of Accomplishments, or other summary of your key skills.
  • When describing your skills and past employment, use action words and focus on your accomplishments. Omit all unnecessary words; be a ruthless editor.
  • You can find evidence for your skills and competencies not only in past employment but in your academic work (projects, etc.) and in your hobbies and voluntary work. Give examples of your skills where you can; potential employers are looking for evidence.
  • Finally, it’s your task to connect YOU to your ideal job. When describing yourself, use words from the job description (if they apply to you), sequence your list of skills/accomplishments to focus on the ones most relevant to the job you are applying for, etc.

There are many other resources to help you in preparing your CV here: delicious.com/cicronin/cv

I am continuing to tweet items that are relevant to what we are discussing in class, using the hashtag #ct231. You can do the same! Please check Twitter — there are often events posted which you might find interesting.

Remember: no class next Tuesday (October 29th), we’ll meet instead next Thursday (October 31st), 2-4pm, in IT106. Halloween sweets may make an appearance 🙂

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