"There's a caution that people have when they're in public," Cahill says. "They don't act the same way they do in private. It's very important for young people to recognize that what they're doing that may seem private at the time ... that could very quickly become public. So, you need to approach the content that you are posting or publishing as if it will be open to the public."
3. Do Google yourself. That's right—search for yourself. You might get made fun of, but knowing what's on the Internet when people look for you is very important. Part of Brand-Yourself's strategy is teaching its clients how to use search-engine optimization to their advantage. In other words, find out what terms and keywords you can use to make positive pieces of content about you show up. If you have a personal website or a blog, give it some bells and whistles and make it easily accessible.
"The fact that [young people] know that employers are looking for you means there's a way to put your best foot forward," says Brand-Yourself's Ambron. "You can showcase all your best work and make sure it's found by the right people. Why not make sure that the people searching your name can find the right stuff?"
4. Don't post negative status updates or tweets. Sometimes, it's hard to be positive. The economy is struggling. School is challenging. And the news hasn't exactly been buzzing with beaming faces and rainbows. But don't let that come out in your status updates. Never rip a classmate, coworker, or person in a leadership role like a professor or boss, and don't openly complain about your job, either. It just doesn't look good.
"Whatever you are talking about online, just don't talk about things you wouldn't want to talk about in an interview," Ambron says.
5. Don't make your online presence all about you. Don't post what you're eating for lunch. Don't put up status updates asking for jobs. You can make your presence known by being interactive. Share relevant articles and videos. Make thoughtful comments when you can. Retweet interesting posts from people you follow.
"[Social media] is all about an ongoing conversation," Ambron says. "If you have nothing valuable to add, you will be ignored. Don't expect to just join some site and have everyone cater to you."
Cahill fleshed out that point even more. "Don't avoid things on the Internet," he says. "Always think about how you can manage your brand and your image by interacting with other people. Think about how you can use this tool or that tool to present, promote, and position yourself so you can be the most successful moving forward."
Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.