Almost every student has an online presence today, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, some other social networking site, or their own website/blog. Colleges and universities are aware of this and are increasingly using the internet to get to know more about prospective students.

Instead of letting this worry you, why not use this knowledge to your advantage? It is also not as difficult as you may imagine. The key lies in deleting all online references that paint you in a negative light and putting some effort into creating and projecting a positive self-image.

Here are 10 reasons why every student needs to create a web presence. 

1. Tell the story yourself
Who hasn’t heard the horror stories about excellent students missing out on potential job offers because Google keeps helpfully bringing up a photo of them having too much fun at a college party?

Having your own web presence is your way of taking control of the narrative. Even if a photo like that does show up, it will probably be offset by the employer finding your presence first and reading its well thought out “About Me” section.

A web presence is your opportunity to spend a long time formulating what you only have a few minutes to say in an interview.

The way you present yourself – the photos you choose, the design, the text – is entirely up to you.

2. Seem more professional
It is not super rare for students to make a web presence in their senior year. 

But Googling some of your peers might tell you it is still not very common either. Having a web presence then becomes an advantage in the eyes of potential employees who have to make judgments about hundreds if not thousands of applicants.

It shows professionalism, maturity, and intent. All these qualities are extremely valuable to an employer.

Besides, consider what an impression a custom email address makes.

3. Showcase your portfolio
Sure, you may have written in your resume that you have reviewed theater plays for your student newspaper for two years but what if it doesn’t have an online version? Potential employers will never find out what you thought about “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

This could be a disadvantage if maybe someone else has his or her writing sample linked online and the employer won’t bother to write to you asking for your articles.

A web presence is a perfect place to “show, not tell.” It’s the platform that can house all your portfolios, be it photography or code, text, or video, simultaneously.

4. Own your content
Your Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta, and Twitter are all great for housing your content but they all have a common problem: they own your content.

One day when Zuckerberg decides to shut the whole thing down, you will have to wave goodbye to your content, too.

You need to own the content you have worked so hard to create.

5. Share your knowledge
College is a time of constant learning and exploration. A web presence is a great way to share your newly gained knowledge and skills with people from all around the world.

People Google “How to…” all the time. If your web presence comes up in the search, you will not only help a person out but gradually build a community of people who are into learning what you are learning.

6. Learn personal branding
Personal branding is super important if you want to be successful in our ever-changing society. Its guiding principle is simple: you are trying to sell your skills – like products – so you should effectively position yourself as a business or brand.

It gets a bit more complicated as you go along. Your brand needs consistency, a defined target market, and tone, etc.

Making your own web presence will teach you a lot about personal branding. After all, you control every component of your brand, and your visitors know this.

And personal branding is a skill that will come in handy whatever you do later in life.

7. Exercise and show commitment
It is one thing to make a website – that part is easy – and quite another to keep it updated.

That’s why the fact that you have committed to maintaining your web presence and making sure it is relevant is already an important achievement for your potential employers.

8. Add new skills to your CV
Creating a web presence is not that hard – you have to learn some SEO techniques and find out just how to schedule security checks, drag and drop to build your site and optimize your images to keep your site’s load time low, etc. etc.

You also have to learn how to market your site and communicate your message clearly.

These are all skills that are very valuable in the market. Every business needs a web presence, and startups and SMEs especially could use someone who knows a thing or two about creating and maintaining a website.

9. Earn an extra buck
Aside from common ways people monetize their websites once they get relatively popular such as ads, you should keep in mind that you have all those other options to sell people your services.

Are you a math whizz who aced SAT Subject Tests? People across the world want to learn how. Are you an English major? Offer to edit papers. Speak Chinese? Teach us, too!

A web presence is fantastic for offering your skills and earning an extra buck. Just create a menu category, build a form, throw in a couple of samples and reviews, and wait for your new clients.

10. Expand your horizons
You are not your major. Or minor. You surely have a number of skills and hobbies that didn’t quite make it to your resume.

For example, are you great at Photoshop and care a lot about global population issues but decided that Marketing is where your core interest lies?

No worries! Potential employers may browse your website and ask if you will come in for an interview. It can sometimes be as simple as that.

Remember, you need something to find before you can be found! A web presence sure helps.