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Your online presence | Social & professional media

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Employer requests for passwords


Hokie Nation Network

E-portfolios | Pinterest

Photos of yourself

Standards of professional conduct

Links to social and professional media on your resume and correspondence




Don't let
stand for

If Facebook is your only online identity, you may want to re-think this. Your online identity is defined through any and all other online information that exists about you and by you, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social and professional online networking.

News in the mid-2000s was full of stories about how college students (and others) have sabotaged themselves as employment candidates due to material online that causes prospective employers to question the candidate's (or employee's) judgment.

Be fully aware of what is online by and about you, and clean it up, if needed:

Fixing a faulty social media reputation
National Career Development Association

Passwords to your social media: requests from employers

If an employer requests your social media password:

You may cite / send this information:

Requiring Logins/Passwords Violates NACE Principles
National Association for Colleges & Employers. 4.11.2012.

NACE's position: the practice by employers of asking job candidates to provide social media password/login information as a condition of employment or candidacy is a violation of ethical standards.



LinkedIn is the current primary tool for online professional networking.

Because LinkedIn is so popular, there is an abundance of STUDENT-FRIENDLY advice online for using LinkedIn effectively. See LinkedIn for Students

LinkedIn cites research:

Up to 70% of employers have rejected a job candidates because of information found about the person online.

85% of employers say positive online reputation influences hiring decisions.

Tips for students on LinkedIn connection requests. Make it individual. Includes examples.

Hokie Nation Network

For the Virginia Tech community, the VT Alumni Association has created:
Hokie Nation Network through the Virginia Tech Alumni Association

This is primarily a professional and job search networking resource.



If you have work samples that are relevant to your career field, relevant to job applications and that could be useful to employers, having these online, easily accessible to employers and linked on your resume can be beneficial.

Don't make the assumption that all employers are interested or have time to look at your portfolio or samples, especially in the early stages of a job search.

If you are a top candidate for a job, and if writing samples, video samples, or design work is relevant to your field, an employer might then be interested.

Be aware that if an employer wants a work sample, it is your responsibility to provide it in the manner requested by the employer. If the employer doesn't tell you the manner, that leaves you free to ask and suggest an option. Make access easy for the employer!


Be cautious about e-portfolios used for academic purposes; some of the content may not be of interest to employers and/or employers may not have time to view these.

Be cautious about extensive personal statements and introspective projects designed to help you discover yourself. They have value for that purpose, but may seem narcissistic or overly-academic in purpose to employers.

Things to potentially include:

A copy of your resume (redundant, perhaps, but appropriate if you keep your online version strictly up-to-date).

Copies of reference letters, certifications, or other documents that are relevant to your job search.

Academic or professional papers, abstracts, lists of professional papers, presentations, etc.

Writing samples, if appropriate to the positions you are seeking.

Items that might appear in a design portfolio.

Photos you've taken, or photos of artwork or other creative projects that are relevant to your being considered for a job. Be aware of load time on graphic images; if it takes too long to load, people may not wait to see it.

Samples of your web development work, if the content and skills displayed are appropriate to the positions you are seeking.

DON'T INCLUDE a reference to a website that contains:

Jokes, animated or otherwise.

Cartoon characters doing inappropriate things.
(Why do we have to even say this?!)
True story: student submits a resume listing website URL; page contains aminated character urinating on a UVa logo. Student did not get an interview. Not kidding.

Nothing but your name; another actual thing done by a student applying for a job. What's the point, other than to show that you don't know how to create a web page?

Photos of yourself that are not business appropriate.
That means NO bathing suit photos, NO photos consuming alcohol, NO photos casually socializing with friends.

Notice the emergence (2012) of using Pinterest for online portfolios, and for research on employers:

7 cool resumes we found on Pinterest
Business Insider Careers. 2.15.2012.
Particularly for creative fields, consider this tool for an online portfolio.

Remember the tips above about providing materials in the manner requested by the employer, and realizing that not all employers are willing or have time to look at these materials. These are tools, but not the whole story!

Photos of yourself

Cautions and guidelines about photos:

Photos should not appear on a hard copy resume unless you're applying for an acting / theatrical position where appearance is a bona fide occupational qualification (a.k.a. B.F.O.Q., meaning it's a REAL work qualification). And in that case you would be submitting photos by the standards currently in place in the performing arts field.

Don't post a non-professional photo!


Employers are prohibited from making hiring decisions based on appearance or other factors not relevant to the job qualifications.

Employers do often cite "professional appearance and demeanor" as a job qualification, which is certainly relevant in many jobs.

Photos are used in online professional networking, as in LinkedIn profiles. For LinkedIn, use a photo that shows a professional appearance, showing your face from the collar up, as you would appear in professional interview attire, NOT tank tops, t-shirts, sundresses, party clothes and other non-professional attire.

Standards of professional conduct

In your job search, whether for an internship, co-op position or other during-college experience, and for a job after graduation, standards of professional conduct apply to all aspects of the search: your documents, all your communication and interactions with employers, including in person, in writing and verbal, including your online presence.


Links to social media on your resume / correspondence

If your LinkedIn profile is ready for viewing by employers, you can certainly include a link on your resume and in your correspondence. Many people include their LinkedIn URL in their signature blocks used in email.

Should you link to an online portfolio? Maybe. If it is career related and strictly professional, yes. If its primary purpose is developmental and to help you reflect on all your academic and extracurricular experience, then probably no. See information above about e-Portfolios.


Resume guide



LinkedIn / Microsoft research:

70% of employers have rejected a job candidates because of information found about the person online.

79% of U.S. HR / recruitment professionals use online info to evaluate candidates most or all of the time.

85% of employers say positive online reputation influences hiring decisions.