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LinkedIn & Online Presence

The Internet is a wonderful way to increase your professional presence, curate your personal and professional brand, and engage with employers and professionals in your field. There are plenty of places online for employers to find you(and they will look), so we encourage you to take advantage of the places that you control online to best highlight who you are and what you have to offer.

We’ve highlighted three areas below where it might be a good idea to focus your efforts online. To learn more about how to identify and curate your personal brand, check out our pre-recorded personal branding workshop or attend a live session offered each semester.


LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. You can create a free professional profile (see LinkedIn Profile Checklist) and make connections with your peers, alumni, faculty, and other professionals based on your interests. You can also join professional groups, search and apply for job and internship opportunities, find and network with alumni, and much more.

If you are just getting started, you may want to keep the following things in mind when building your profile:

  • Post a professional headshot. This should be you alone, not you with friends or your dog or with people cropped out. Stop by the Cohen Career Center anytime during regular business hours to use our Professional Headshot Booth for free photos.
  • Add a summary to tell people your professional story, such as what you're excited about now, what you’ve done, and what you want to do in the future.
  • Customize your headline. Many people leave this as their most recent job, or “Student at William & Mary.” Customize your headline to showcase more about you, what you’re looking for, or what skills you bring to the table.
  • Add all relevant experiences to your profile. Like your resume, your profile does not have to be limited to only paid jobs or internships. Round out your profile by including clubs, organizations, volunteer work, and/or relevant skills, accomplishments, contributions, or key projects.
  • Customize your LinkedIn URL and add it to your resume. You can personalize your URL to make it easier for others to find you and have a cleaner look on your resume. Click on the “Edit public profile and URL” section on your LinkedIn page to edit your URL.
  • For more detailed information about creating your LinkedIn profile, check out our video clinic.

Once you’ve built your profile, check out these other ways to engage with the LinkedIn community:

  • Follow organizations that have captured your interest, and stay up-to-date on their news, announcements, and opportunities. Also, this can be a great way to research companies while preparing for an upcoming interview.
  • Join groups relevant to your chosen field, and follow their discussions to learn about current trends. Network with individual members of the groups you join.
  • Make use of features like the Job Search and Alumni Search tools. You can learn how to use the Find Alumni feature and other LinkedIn features by accessing our Utilizing LinkedIn video clinic.
Social Media

Social media is an ever-present part of most of our daily lives. While it has many personal uses, social media can also be a good platform for professional use. We’ve laid out some tips and ideas on how to best utilize social media professionally below:

Privacy & Pitfalls

Social media platforms have varying privacy settings and visibility to the public. Sometimes we own multiple pages or accounts. Be aware that unless you are certain your social media page is set to “private,” you always want to assume that an employer or future employer has access to it. Privacy settings can often change, so keep a regular eye on what is public and what is private or only visible to connections. In addition, it is best to avoid negative, polarizing, or discriminatory content. Keep this in mind when you are maintaining your social media content and channels.

Professional Uses

You can share your professional brand on social media and even connect with employers. LinkedIn is a great professional networking tool where you can follow companies or organizations of interest and even engage with hiring managers or recruiters. Other platforms, such as Instagram or Twitter, can be places where you build personal brand recognition, share things you are interested in, and connect with other professionals. Depending on your field or industry, utilizing social media professionally may be something you want to cultivate, or it may not. To learn more about your industry of interest, reach out to one of our industry advisors.

Some examples of ways to utilize social media professionally are:

  • A targeted social media account. Perhaps you can make an Instagram or Twitter page dedicated to something topical or industry-specific. This can be a way to showcase your social media skills and share your interest in and enthusiasm for your industry area. For example, if you are interested in publishing, you could create a Bookstagram, which is a great way to show your excitement about publishing, reading, and even marketing. This allows you to engage in the field you are interested in, show your knowledge of the subject matter, and even build a following.
  • Similarly, Twitter could be an effective platform to share your original work as a freelancer. You can post stories you’ve written to your own Twitter page to showcase your work and engage with other writers or audience members.

As you can see, social media can be a great way to increase your visibility, engage with others in your community, and build skills that might be useful to employers. If you use social media in a smart way, it can enhance your professional brand.


Personal websites are steadily gaining in popularity. Employers will likely search their candidates online to gauge digital presence. A personal website can be a great way to have your own presence on the Internet, with content developed by you. It can also be a way for employers to find your resume, past work, and how to connect with you. There are plenty of websites that offer free accounts to build your own website or portfolio, including:

The Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement also hosts regular workshops with Wix where you can learn more about the platform and get a free year of Wix premium with a W&M code. Check out events in TribeCareers to find the next session.

You may want to keep a few things in mind when creating your personal website:

  1. What do you want to communicate to employers? What information and tone do you want to convey?
  2. What content do you want accessible to employers? Adding a PDF resume, or portfolio of past projects are two examples of content you could include.
  3. How robust do you want your website to be? A website can be as little as one page or many more. Think about what you want to say and plan accordingly.
  4. How do you want your contact information to be displayed? A personal webpage should always have a way to contact you, for example, an email address and/or phone number, a downloadable resume, or a link to your LinkedIn page.