Maintaining a professional image on-line is vital nowadays for everyone. From  newly qualified students looking for their first job to top managers with years of experience under their belts. If you’re on-line, you’ll be seen more easily, so it’s a good idea to make sure what they see of you on-line makes a positive first impression, hey?

A positive image goes a long way.

Image From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colleen-lane/

The How Stuff Works site is often a great source for authentic material for EFL teachers. It is regularly updated with articles about, well… how stuff works and things like that 😀 More than this though, it also often has some handy little “Top 10” lists which are easily exploited by language teachers. The article they’ve just published today, 10 Tips for Maintaining a Professional Image Online is perfect for in-class activities, both for business English students and for high school students. To be honest, it’s pretty darn good advice for a lot of language teachers, too. Here’s the introduction:

Whether you like it or not, you probably already have a significant online presence. Between government documents, newspaper articles and self-generated content, it’s not hard for others to dig up information about you. And whether those people are potential employers, co-workers or casual acquaintances, it’s generally a good idea to put your best foot forward on the Web.

For example, although social networks like Facebook were designed more for casual socializing, more and more human resource managers use these sites to screen potential employees. You must realize that personal Web content can have an effect on you professional life.

As a class activity, I will probably give 1 of each of the 10 pieces of advice to a different student. Ask them to read it, then do a mingle activity where they summarised their advice to each other, noting down what their partners told them. Probably afterwards I would read one or two of the key articles again as a class and do some vocabulary or comprehension work.

Anyhow, without further ado, here are the 10 headlines, or the 10 best ways to look professional online. Click the individual headline to read more.

10: The Best (or Worst) Stands Out

9: Professional Perception is Reality

8: Defend Your Reputation

7: Protect Passwords and Other Vital Information

6: Control Your Branding

5: Use an Alias

4: Establish Your Expertise

3: The Internet Never Forgets

2: Prepare for Potential Employers

1: Privacy is Still Real — If You Want It

What do you think? Do you agree with How Stuff Works’ list? Would you add anything else? Make sure you let us know what you think in the comments section!