You owe it to your future to have an excellent online reputation. After all, you’ve worked hard building your resume, and you want to show the job market—and the world—your very best. With technology and social media, it’s very easy to find information on just about everything, including job applicants. And employers are quite aware of this: a 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive© on behalf of careerbuilder.com, revealed two out of every five employers research job candidates online. However, this is information you can use to your advantage while searching for a new job. Here’s how:
What can employers find with an online search?
First, figure out what information is available about you by conducting your own online search. Type your name into multiple search engines (Ask, Bing, Google, Yahoo and, last but not least, YouTube) and see what you find. Your search may locate:
- Photos you’ve posted or that you’ve been tagged in.
- Articles or blogs you’ve written.
- Posts on your own social media pages.
- Posts you’ve made on other social media pages.
- Comments on blogs.
- Affiliations with schools or organizations.
- Information about people with the same name who are not you.
- Nothing (and this in itself may be a problem!).
Control what the online world sees
Once you know what’s out there in cyberspace, you can take steps to fix—or enhance—your online image. (If you Google yourself and find very little information, you’ll want to build an online image.) Consider the following:
- Delete negative publicity. If you can, remove any content, photos or affiliations that paint you in a negative light.
- If you can’t delete it, wash over it. The more positive things you can fill the Internet up with, the less the older negative stuff will be pushed to the bottom.
- Start a blog. This is a great way to showcase your professional knowledge, or give others a peek into your personal interests. Many sites, such as WordPress, offer blog pages for free. Write about topics related to your career, or interesting topics you’re passionate about, such as fitness, nutrition, travel, sports or charity work.
- Link a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Tumblr account to your blog. Start a social media page where you post about the same topics as your blog. You can also use these pages to advertise and direct traffic to your blog. Plus, they give you a platform for an additional, positive online presence.
- Be careful with social media. Going forward, don’t post anything to social media that you wouldn’t be comfortable showing to your boss.
- Clearly identify yourself. If you have a common name, differentiate yourself by using a middle name or initial, your full name or a shortened version, or your maiden name in addition to your married name.
It is worth your time to clean up your online image! Take some time to search for yourself and then build your online presence. You’ll thank yourself when you land your dream job.
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