Education Opinion

What’s Your Online Identity?

By AAEE — July 19, 2012 1 min read
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Teaching is one of those professions that attracts a great deal of public scrutiny and in this day and age of social media it is scrutinized even more. If you want to be considered for a teaching position you will need to ensure that you have a positive, pristine online identity. If this issue is at all questionable for you, you will need to take steps to “clean up your digital dirt” or it isn’t likely that you will be hired as a teacher.

The first thing you should do is Google yourself and evaluate the results. How many are about you? Of the results that are about you, would they help support you as a job candidate, or would they cause you to be dismissed from the hiring process? If it is something that could have a negative impact on your job search, could you have it removed? Or is it something that you could address up front in the hiring process?

Did your Google results yield any negative information that is not about you, but is for someone with the same name? It helps to know this so you can bring it to the attention of the person/school district hiring. You don’t want any confusion that could keep you from getting the job.

What social media do you use? For instance, if you have a Facebook profile you need to use appropriate privacy settings. Additionally, don’t be fooled that privacy settings are enough. I’ve seen people lose out on job opportunities because potential employers found a way to see their Facebook profile - through a friend of a friend, or worse - you could be asked to open your Facebook page in an interview. It is probably best to deactivate your Facebook profile while you are seeking a job, and then once you have the job be very diligent about ensuring that there is nothing that could damage your professional reputation or get you fired (posting photos of you consuming alcohol, being “friends” with students, foul language, etc. ...).

A great way to build a positive online identity is to create a LinkedIn profile. It is considered a professional networking site and can help to promote you as a career-minded professional, which is exactly who school districts seek to hire.

Pamela Folger
Director, Career Center
Millikin University
Decatur, Illinois

The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.