Do you use social networks in your daily life? I bet you do. But have you ever thought about the impact of those on your career? What impact, you might ask. But the truth is that, in a world dominated by online communications, social networks have become part of pretty much everything we do – personal and professional. So you shouldn’t be surprised that in an increasingly competitive job market, more and more employers take to the internet to research potential candidates and weed out those they don’t believe suited to the position or company culture. Dealing with hundreds of applications for a single vacancy has become a fact of life for many employers and one way to narrow the choice down is through online research. So, if you don’t want to be one of those people whose application never gets to the interview stage because of inappropriate photos on Facebook, then read on and start managing your online presence right now with our handy tips below!
1. Google yourself
First of all, Google yourself. It’s amazing what you can find. When I first Googled myself, the search returned pages and pages of information. A lot of old links and profiles I had forgotten existed. And my name isn’t a common one, either. Which meant all those links did point to information about me. So, type your name in and see what comes up. If your name is a fairly common one, add a location to your search or the name of your University. Use the details a potential recruiter will have from your CV. If your search returns hundreds of pages, don’t worry about going through all of them. Focus on the first few. Don’t forget to look at the images tab – sometimes this can be really useful. If you see embarrassing pictures of yourself, that’s definitely a warning sign that you need to clear your online presence up.
2. Clean up your profiles
The second step to taking control and managing your online reputation is cleaning up. Whilst Googling yourself, make a list and categorise links to make it easy for you to manage them. Clean up any embarrassing links, posts, images on your social networks. Close old accounts that you have set up and barely used. Make a list of all the accounts you’d like to keep and make sure the list is manageable. You might come across websites using your information without your permission. You might need to contact the relevant websites and request that they remove your data. It might be time-consuming but it has to be done.
3. Personal/professional – set up some boundaries
Decide which networks you’d like to keep private and use to connect with family and friends. Also, which ones you’d like to use to establish your professional brand. This doesn’t mean that you need 5 different professional channels specifically to market yourself to employers. Just set up some boundaries for yourself. Usually Facebook is an obvious channel to keep private. But some people also prefer using Twitter to connect with their friends. In which case, it might be best to lock your account. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is predominantly professional. You just need to find what works for you. There sometimes are blurred lines, especially with Twitter. I personally use one account personally and professionally, and I don’t mind employers looking at it. However, I do make sure that there are no inappropriate words, statements or views.
4. Protect your privacy
5. Establish your personal brand
Once you have locked the accounts that you’d like to keep private, focus on the ones you’d like to keep open, even visible to employers and recruiters. Establish your personal brand, according to how you’d like to be perceived. This is not to say that you should mislead people; on the contrary, be yourself, but the best possible self you can be. Before you know it, you’ll see the difference this can make. Posting articles and opinions on industry news and trends can even be a conversation starter in your next interview.
Once you have taken your online reputation in your hands, Google yourself again and hopefully you will see a big difference in what you find. Make it a habit to do that every now and again so you’re on top of your social presence.
Social media is a part of our daily lives and learning how to manage that influence is not always easy. Most of the time social media works for us. The rest of the time, we just need to make sure that it doesn’t work against us.
Have you ever Googled yourself? Did you find any surprises? Share them in the comments below!