Over the last four weeks I have met with numerous college students and recent graduates who are interested in working for tech startups. I have been surprised to discover how woefully their schools have prepared them for how to find a job in the age of the Internet. The vast majority of thses students do not have their own name registered as a domain, have their Facebook profile as the first search result for their name, have no LinkedIn account (or an empty one), don’t know how to approach companies over the Internet and the list goes on.
Once I noticed this pattern, I started to ask about what they were being told in school. It rapidly became clear that the career centers at even top schools are apparently stuck in the days of the polished resume. More importantly though, the students have none of what they have worked on during their time in school online. There are no student essays or projects that are published and discoverable on the web. None of their professors ever made this part of the class or included it in the evaluation of their work.
So until colleges catch up here, students will have to figure this out for themselves. At a minimum I suggest that everyone register their name or some variation thereof as a domain and use a service such as About.me to put up a pleasing home page. Beyond that students might want to take a look at BrandYourself, which is a service that helps them influence their Google search rankings. At least on the design side schools are beginning to help their students graduate with online portfolios. For instance both RISD and SVA have portfolio sites for students via Behance. Something along those lines should be the norm and not the exception.