Do you have a Facebook account? How about a Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Google+ account? Do you know if any YouTube videos exist which show you in an unflattering light? Or have you written any posts in online forums which are political, or religious, which over-share, are rude, inflammatory, or controversial? Have you checked to see if there is any online data about yourself which could cast doubt in the minds of probing employers and HR recruitment specialists as to your suitability to the job on offer?
Due to the easy access to information we enjoy in this digital age, many employers do a quick Google search on prospective job candidates for fact checking purposes and to see if their persona is likely to fit into their workplace culture.
It is vital that contractors, current employees, students and job seekers are aware of what personal information they and their friends have been sharing on the web as it may make or break your chances of landing “that” job. You must be pro-active in managing your online identity.
To start, go to Google and search your name and any other names you are known by and see what search results come up. You might be surprised by what you find. If you were a late 80’s/90’s child and never deleted your Myspace account it may very well pop up in your results. Mine did. Go ahead, try it.
Ensure your Facebook account is set to private and ask your friends to please check with you before sharing any unsuitable photos of you. Try to avoid posting any compromising photos, posts and anything else yourself as a precautionary method. To see what your profile looks like to browsers go into your profile page and hit the settings button (A picture of a cog), choose “view as” and make sure it’s all appropriate for public viewing.
Censor your Twitter tweets, you never know whose watching and set your privacy level to “protected”.
If you have a LinkedIn account (if you are a professional you really need one in this day and age) make sure it is purely to do with your career and related topics. Most importantly keep it up to date and try to post a few new career related posts regularly to give people a reason to visit. Keep the personal information to a bare minimum such as contact details and anything which may improve your job chances.
Remember, your online identity needs to reflect positively upon you, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot by being careless.
1. Use your real name.
2. Make sure your email address is professional and not childish.
3. Keep your online identity up to date, interesting, relevant and succinct.
4. Don’t lie as it’ll come back to bite you.
5. Post appropriate photos and information.
6. Try and be as private as possible with your online accounts.
7. If you are employed and your firm has an active blog, or interactive website make sure you check out what’s new on a regular basis as it will show your manager you are serious about your future in the business.