When you’re thinking of searching for a new job, there’s no better time to take stock of your online presence - especially if you’re in the middle of a career change.
Most recruiters and potential employers will pop your name into Google or search for you on Facebook to go beyond the CV and cover letter to discover who you are.
The Facebook photos of you passed out drunk at a party may haunt you when looking for a job.
That’s why a good scrubbing of embarrassing photos, potentially offensive posts and other unflattering online activities can help prevent a potential employer from overlooking your application.
At the same time, you can add positive indicators of your work and personal life across many channels that a hiring manager and recruiter turn to when vetting your background. You need to be diligent and deliberate in your approach.
let your personal branding shine through in your resumeread article
We all have an online presence, and some are bigger than others. The good news is those celebratory moments such as your academic achievements, volunteer service records, and other evidence of your positive attributes are available for employers.
The bad news is that all the embarrassing moments are also online forever - think twice before leaving a comment or posting something you might regret later. (According to Forbes, 1 in 3 recruiters pass on a candidate based on something negative found on a social media profile.)
Today’s job seekers have a larger digital footprint than those who left school a decade ago, so employers naturally have a more transparent view of your life. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media channels are your record keepers, meaning you need to be cautious about whom you friend or follow.
Be especially careful in politics, which in today’s highly polarised environment can impact your career. You don’t need to overly self-censor, but be mindful of the risks of social media and your professional online presence.
The most important professional network is LinkedIn, which boasts more than 830 million users globally.
Linkedin is the essential networking tool you have for your career. It’s also an opportunity to showcase your expertise, thought leadership, work experience and qualifications.
Your primary goal on LinkedIn is to build a robust network and nurture relationships - the more extensive the network, the more access you have to different organisations and leaders. Similarly, the stronger your LinkedIn relationships are, the more opportunities may come your way.
your profile should be consistent across all your social media channels.
If you describe yourself on LinkedIn as a passionate engineer, your other profiles should reflect this as your professional occupation. How much of your professional information you share in personal networks is strictly up to you, but you may want to think twice about oversharing personal information in your profiles.
This can disqualify you from positions you would otherwise be a good fit.
- Monitor comments on your postings and content shared to moderate or delete inappropriate replies.
- Consider setting your social media accounts to the highest privacy settings if you want to prevent a potential employer from accessing your content.
- You can strengthen your online presence by creating a blog, following the employers you admire and participating in talent communities unique to your field.
Demonstrating that you are an active member in your field indicates that you are likely an engaged employee interested in upskilling and staying informed about your profession.
Another tip is to adhere to commonly observed online etiquette and develop your skills as a writer. Whether you’re a java developer, a mechanical engineer or a warehouse worker, possessing excellent grammar and writing skills will never hinder your job search. Typos and grammatical mistakes can only serve to distract your brand.
Furthermore, behaving aggressively in forums will also lead recruiters to question your ability to work in a team, so respect the opinions of others.
Taking all that into account, here are three tips for enhancing your online presence:
monitor your brand.
Always remember that a recruiter or potential employer might research your online footprint. Consider what you post, share and comment on and how freely available you make your social media accounts. Always be courteous when interacting with others in public online forums.
accentuate the positive.
If you cannot remove embarrassing content online, consider creating more positive content associated with you that will help it achieve a higher ranking. This way, recruiters performing screening might not find damning evidence.
Visually and tonally, make sure your online presence is consistent. Use the same profile photos and write in the same manner. This will help you become more recognisable, especially as you look to build a solid personal brand.