At a time where our use of social media is making our everyday lives more and more public, how do you protect and enhance your online reputation?
Recruiters and employers are using search and social to discover ideal candidates, using the information found online to aid their selection processes. But in an environment where technically everything posted could be public, how can you best present yourself digitally to potential recruiters and employers?
It may seem obvious but have you tried Googling your name and seeing what results appear? For more popular names, you might be able to hide in the search results with the sheer number of John Smiths for example. For those of us with more unusual names, search will reveal our online and social profiles and their content very quickly.
Even if you have a popular name are there any keywords that a recruiter could use to find you online, such as your location, current or previous employer, or places of study?
Keeping informed of changes with these search results is easily achieved by using Google alerts with your keywords. Once set up, this free service notifies you of any new content that Google has indexed.
Since its launch LinkedIn has been a key tool for recruiters and employers alike. Our experience in working in this sector is that recruitment and HR teams virtually live on the platform discovering talent and connecting with potential candidates.
Google works well with LinkedIn, meaning that search results from the platform are often prioritised over other content.
It makes real sense not only to have an account, but to ensure that your personal profile is effective and up to date. Check out my recent LinkedIn blog post on how to achieve this.
Lock down Facebook
If your embarrassing Facebook photos are appearing in your search results, it’s about time to check or recheck your security and privacy settings.
Remember though, even with the most secure settings Facebook is still a public space. Because Facebook’s main form of connection sees users becoming friends you need to be aware of the danger of extended friends, i.e. connections who aren’t really friends but merely connections.
Facebook users posting about their boring job or rubbish boss, have been undone when their extended friends, e.g. co-workers, have taken offence at their posts. A recent case even saw a worker being sacked for liking a picture of a jumper, as his action was viewed as bullying by his employers.
So here’s some top tips to implement in your settings and privacy:
- Review who can see your posts – add your “friends” to lists and set who can see your posts in custom privacy.
- Review posts and media you’re tagged in as your friends might have shared some compromising or embarrassing pictures or information about you. Also in the timeline and tagging setting, you can change settings so you can review posts that you are tagged in before they are posted by your friends.
- Ensure search engines can’t link to your timeline.
Even with these settings in place, always think before you post and especially if you use more open social channels such as Twitter and Instagram.
Showing you have an interest and opinion on your industry sector looks good to recruiters. Enhance your professional social media profiles by creating and sharing key content related to your sector.
If you find a great article why not tweet about it or post it to LinkedIn, together with your thoughts and comments?
What about creating a professional blog on Blogger or WordPress, or even using LinkedIn publisher to share your professional ideas and views?