After raising my own three daughters, I have seen how important it is for them to have their own professional online profile to balance their social media profiles. I have had many college interns work for me over the years and learned that although this generation is very comfortable with the digital world, many are not as knowledgeable as one would think when it comes to understanding their digital footprint.
Educate your teenagers on building a positive digital footprint. What students post online will follow them to college and future jobs. Their digital footprint will be making a “first impression” before they have even been given an interview. Most teens already have a following with their SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and ask.fm accounts. But many teens are not aware that they are also creating an identity through their posts that future employers and college admissions also can access. They need to think about what their posting and the image they are portraying when they post their party photos or chat publicly online with one another. Consider having your teen set up their LinkedIn accounts when in high school so that they can show up positively in Google searches and start building professional personas.
WORKSHOPS & PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS
RESUMES – Resumes are important. Once teens create their first one, they will only have to update it over the years as they add new jobs and volunteer experiences. Students will learn how to choose a template and custom fonts to make their resume stand out. Students will learn how to take their past volunteer experience, sports, and extracurriculars and turn them into a resume even if they have never held a paying job.
Many high students will take a class at school that gives them the opportunity to work on their resumes however what they learn is dependent on the teacher teaching the course and how much emphasis they put on the importance of a solid resume, both paper and digital.
EMAIL & TEXT ETIQUETTE – most teens prefer texting to email but there is a need for both. Acronyms may be acceptable when texting, but complete sentences and correct spelling are still expected when you email. Teenagers need to learn the art of email and text communication when they are interacting with teachers or potential employers.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY SETTINGS – College admissions and employers do read online profiles and they do make decisions based upon information they find out about students online. Make sure your students accounts are set to private. Evaluate whether the content they are posting is appropriate.
LINKEDIN ACCOUNT – Students 13 and over can use LinkedIn to create a professional online presence, build their online network and showcase their work which can help in the future when they are looking for jobs and internships. It is never too early to create a profile even if you don’t use it for several years while you are finishing school. LinkedIn is about connections and it is your online resume. If you begin to add your connections early on, then by the time you are applying for positions, you will be able to learn which contacts who may be able to offer their support and provide recommendations.
GOOGLE CALENDAR – Teach your teen how to manage their own calendar and then share their calendar with the family to post their school holiday breaks, doctors appointments, extracurriculars, etc so that everyone in the family is on the same page. Create different calendars/folders for personal and each family member. [As a mom this has been invaluable since my kids and husband can all view our commitments on their individual devices and I only have to post them once.]
GOOGLE DRIVE & DOCUMENTS – Most schools and teachers now require students to use Google Documents. The best part about this is that rather than emailing documents back and forth, they can simply “share” the document with their teacher. They can also share the documents with parents or others that they ask to review and edit their work. Students should learn how to convert documents to PDF’s so they maintain their layout when they are emailed and shared.
DIGITAL PORTFOLIO – Student should have a cloud-based collection of their accomplishments that’s easily shareable. Google Drive is also an excellent way to manage certificates, diplomas, letters of recommendation, and other important documents in one place.
PERSONAL DOMAIN – Consider securing a personal domain for your student (ie: firstlastname.com) that can be used in the future for a website or simply redirect to their online LinkedIn account.
WORDPRESS BLOG & WEBSITE – Some students may be interested in starting their own website or blog to showcase their work, their sports or to journal about their experiences.