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How Your Online Presence Affects Your Job Search: Guest Blog by Megan Kristel

By July 16, 2015No Comments

Have you ever Googled yourself? Your future employers and recruiters have! Like it or not, your online presence is as important as the interview itself and has become common place for companies and recruiters to research online at some point during the screening process.

According to ExecuNet, up to 90% of recruiters conduct online searches for information on their potential candidates. Forbes reported that 70% of employers who use Linkedin have decided to turn down a person for a position based on information or photos that they found online during their research. Only 27% of employers allow candidates to discuss any online content that was discovered as a result of the employer’s online research on their name, social media profiles, photos, and blog posts.

Individuals looking for a job or a promotion should be attentive to their online persona because it is often just as important as how they carry themselves in an interview. If an individual has questionable content online, including in their social media, it can very likely give employers a bad taste in their mouth and will disqualify even the most promising candidate from getting a job. It is possible to build a positive digital presence! In this article we will discuss how to screen and control your online reputation to ensure that it will not hurt your chances of getting that position you’ve always wanted.

Google Yourself

Don’t wait until the day before your interview to do an online search for yourself. Research yourself on a regular basis to proactively manage your online reputation. Run a search for your name on multiple search engines, such as Google and Bing, and social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. If any of the results turn up less than professional, it’s time to make adjustments. Search results for your name should give at least one result on the first page that is related to your professional experience and or interests. Linkedin, for example, is a great profile to update because it has high visibility on Google search engine results. Keeping your Linkedin profile updated and optimized for employer research is essential.

Demonstrate Your Strengths

Use your social media profiles to your advantage. Demonstrate your strengths on your profiles so that your future employers believe you are the best candidate to fill the position. Your social media profiles often shed light on your unique interests in which you engage in outside of work and these will likely play a part in an employer’s decision to hire you. Use your profiles to post about your accomplishments, both professional and personal. This way, when an employer finds your personal profiles they will be impressed that your personal interests complement your professional experience and credentials.

A great example of a website that allows you to build your online reputation and demonstrate your knowledge is Quora. Quora allows you to answer questions of other online users. You can use this website to showcase your knowledge by answering questions directly related to your professional experience. For example, if you are a digital marketing professional, you may want to answer questions from people who are looking to get training, or want to build a marketing plan. You can also show off your personal interests by answering questions about traveling, the city you live in, and places you are interested in visiting.

Eliminate Negative Content

Facebook and other social websites offer privacy settings that can be manipulated to hide anything undesirable. Be sure that you’re not sharing information that will shed a negative light on you. Use tools or apps to scan your social media profiles thoroughly, helping you identify anything that should be eliminated or made private. Secure.Me is a tool you can use for free that will review your social media content, protects your profile from any type of unwanted links and viruses, as well as monitors your photos and your friend’s posts.  If you are unsure about whether or not you should post something, don’t post it. There is a good chance your future employer will go through your profiles and it is better to be safe than sorry. If there is any chance someone you are connected to online would post comments or photos that you would not want a future employer to see it is important that you take action. You can edit your privacy settings on social media profiles to simply not allow you to be tagged on anything, or will require approval before it actually shows up on your profile.

Leave No Room for Confusion

If your name is common then there’s a risk that search results for your name will result in someone else’s information.  Look for ways to differentiate yourself and your profiles either through the use of a middle initial, clear and professional profile pictures and unique profile descriptions that won’t be confused.

In order to ensure the employer finds your profiles first, avoiding any risk of confusion, provide your social media profile usernames on your resume, inviting the employer to explore. You should also take advantage of social media profiles that offer unique URLs, so that you can use your name and make it easier for future employer to search for you.

Recruiters and employers pay close attention to social media profiles, so it’s important to maintain control of your online reputation. Now-a-days these profiles are considered an extension of your resume and an insight into you personally and it can either help you get a job or truly hurt your chances.


If you enjoyed this guest blog by Megan Kristel, join her online and follow her blog, Corporate Charisma. 

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