Most job seekers spend a lot of time learning how to make a resume that instantly grabs recruiters' attention. But in the process, they tend to forget about their online reputation. Ensuring that your resume gets to recruiters is just the beginning. If you want recruiters to consider you an attractive candidate, you need a polished online presence.
Recruiters treat an online search as part of their routine background check. They'll Google your name, check your Facebook profile, browse through your Twitter updates, and have a look at your LinkedIn presence.
Here are five tips to help you take control of your online reputation and boost your value on the job market.
1. Delete Unwanted Google Mentions
Log out of your Google account and search for your name. Google personalizes search results based on your account activity, so it only makes sense to look yourself up when you aren't logged in.
Browse through the first few pages. What do you see? If your name doesn't turn up at all, you're not going to make a good impression on recruiters. Sure, they won't stumble upon any compromising content, but they also won't be able to learn anything about you.
Make sure that your LinkedIn account is set to “public” so that it shows up in Google results. That’s enough content to get you started.
And what if you spot results that might damage your personal brand? You can ask Google to delete damaging information. Have a look at Google Images as well. If you see any content that might affect your reputation, you'll have to follow a different procedure.
You should also check alternative search engines. Bing and DuckDuckGo provide users with individual feedback forms where they can quickly submit takedown requests for nonlegal reasons.
2. Review Your Posting History
Today, social media is where people share, create, and exchange information. In 2015, 81 percent of organizations said that it's part of their recruitment strategy. However, you should think twice before posting your next update.
Everything you post can be made available to the public. Review your social profiles and check whether any of your past posts might put you in a bad light.
If you spot some compromising Facebook posts, delete them. This way you don't risk anyone taking screenshots and making them public. Visible posts should contribute to your online image.
One of the most public networks is Twitter. If you use your real name as your handle, everyone will associate your tweets with you. You can set your account to private, but remember that this won't stop others from quoting you or responding to you publicly.
3. Show Your Engagement
Active engagement is critical for developing an online reputation that emphasizes your professionalism and credibility. To help recruiters see you as an active member of your industry, make good use of your LinkedIn presence. Join relevant groups and participate in discussions. Share your expertise and help others solve problems.
Use LinkedIn's blogging platform to create your content as well. Make sure that your articles are flawless and contribute to the public persona you're building online.
You can also optimize your LinkedIn profile by adding relevant skills and achievements. Ask colleagues and supervisors to write recommendations for you or give you endorsements. They serve as proof of your skills.
4. Review Privacy and Security Settings
Social platforms change privacy settings and policies very often. Go through them once in a while to check whether your accounts are private. Have a look at the permissions and privacy settings of apps on your mobile devices as well.
These settings regulate who can see your profile and browse through your posting history. On Facebook, you can go to Privacy Settings and choose the Limit Past Post Visibility option to hide all your content at once.
You're the one to decide how much information to share online. But don't limit your visibility too much. Otherwise, you'll disappear from the search results.
5. Showcase Your Skills
Your online and offline persona should tell the same story. Help recruiters make a connection between them by delivering on the promises you make in your application.
For example, if you present yourself as a talented web developer, set up an online portfolio where you showcase your latest projects and share client testimonials. If you're a photographer and want to expand your reach, consider hosting your photos on platforms such as Picasa or Flickr. You'll help recruiters find your content easily.
Remember that when you’re applying for jobs, you're competing with candidates who are aware that their online presence plays a key role in the recruiting process. Show recruiters that you know how to control your online image and build a public persona that boosts your status in the industry.