Instead, it now starts way before that with a Google search. Typically, potential employers will type in your name and ‘PR’ or related areas, see what comes up and then begin formulating an opinion until they meet you.
The challenge for PR students is to protect and enhance their online reputation. I use the term Personal SEO and have spoken at universities on what people can do to manage their reputation and cultivate online relationships to ensure good things come up when someone Googles you.
In my mind Google should be considered the ultimate reputation engine and below are some techniques to optimise your name for search.
Personal SEO – managing reputation and relationships
1. Start blogging
I would strongly recommend to any PR student wanting to break into the industry to start a PR blog. It is an effective way to document your thoughts on the industry, improve your writing, scores highly on search and can help you network.
2. Create an e-portfolio
Hard copy portfolios are good, e-portfolios are better. Why limit the number of people (and potential employers) who can see, comment and share your work? PR is a creative industry, so you need to use every opportunity to demonstrate your real life experiences in an imaginative way.
3. Understand and use privacy settings
This post contains tips to enhance Personal SEO, but you should also take steps to protect your online reputation by having your social network privacy settings on private. Remember that social media is often immediate, public and permanent.
4. Network with industry figures
The internet provides numerous opportunities for students to network and connect with industry figures. You can cultivate relationships and begin to get noticed by commenting on their blogs, curating news articles on Twitter and connecting on LinkedIn.
5. Use Twitter and LinkedIn and do it well
Twitter and LinkedIn are the two social media students should prioritise. Twitter allows unique and often instantaneous access to industry figures (without gatekeepers), whilst LinkedIn should be considered your online CV.