By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)
Since the dawn of social media, employers have been searching for online information on possible job candidates. With people updating their profiles every day, scouring social media sites is a great way to conduct general background checks. Some companies even go so far as to ask for your login information during the interview. Are you prepared to bare it all?
E. Chandlee Bryan, a career coach and co-author of the book “The Twitter Job Search Guide,” said job seekers should always be aware of what’s on their social media sites and assume someone is going to look at it. According to Professional Resume Services, these are not the days of three traditional references anymore. Nowadays, your three references are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s obvious that everything you post online will be seen by someone, so the key is to conduct yourself professionally online as you would in real life.
People have been fired and not hired because of distasteful comments or photos. But here’s how you can prevent or improve your online reputation. First, survey the damage. Google yourself and see what sort of content shows up on the first five pages. Anything troubling? Mark it for action. Then sign up for the alerts available at spots like Google Alerts; when information about you is added or updated, you’ll find out via email.
Because all published content on the Internet is archived on Internet Archive, a nonprofit initiative designed to be a resource for historians and researchers, completely deleting something is almost impossible. That’s why you bury the bad with the good. Create new content such as a blog or personal website that highlights your skills and positive attributes. Have your work published with different credible sites. These actions don’t make the bad stuff go away, but it will show employers that you are serious about portraying yourself professionally.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile already, create one. If you are on LinkedIn, strengthen your profile by filling out all fields. LinkedIn is one of the top sites that pop up when a name is entered into Google, so make it the first thing an employer sees. People are searching for you, make sure you paint the picture of yourself that you want them to see.