Fact: 78% of recruiters “Google” candidates and 63% check them out on social media sites.
Previously on our blog we’ve covered many ways you can make the Internet work to your advantage when you’re looking for a job. Today we’re going to discuss how it can be a big disadvantage if you don’t control your online identity.
Step one: Google yourself and see what hiring managers will see. If there’s anything that portrays you as less than an ideal employee, do what you can to remove it.
Negative posts about your current job.
No matter how justified you are in hating your job, your boss and/or your co-workers, save your gripes for your diary, or a private conversation with your best friend. Don’t put them out there on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc., for anybody and everybody to see. Or, if you really must vent your feelings online, change your account settings to private.
The party was great fun, but do you really want potential employers to see evidence of your activities that night? You’re trying to convince them that you’re responsible and professional, right? Take those photos down. And if friends tag you in their photos, ask them to remove your name.
Posts about current job interviews or offers.
In one now-famous case, a job seeker received an offer, then tweeted that he had to decide whether to take it because the money was great, but he knew he’d hate the work. Someone at the company saw the tweet; you can guess the rest. This one also applies if you’re looking for a new position while you’re still working, and don’t want your current employer to know about it.
Funny, funny email address.
Inviting recruiters to contact you at firstname.lastname@example.org is not going to show them that you have a good work ethic, are serious about your career, or have any of the character qualities they’re looking for. Change it to something simple and classy, usually with your name and profession in the title.
Example: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Badmouthing of you by others.
Some types of bad publicity on the Internet are beyond your control. In that case, your best strategy is to try and flood out the bad with the good. Join professional discussion groups and post often, start a blog related to your profession, comment on others’ blogs and social media pages. Eventually the positive items related to your name will predominate and the negative ones will be pushed down to later pages in the search engine indexes.
Never forget, the first impression of you an employer receives may not be at the interview; it may be at your Facebook page. Make sure it’s a good one.