What does your online image say about you?
You want to be sure your online image helps, not hurts, your job search.
Employers used to only have your resumes, cover letter, and the interview to go on when making hiring decisions, but today, that’s not all they look at. Increased use of the Internet and social networking now gives employers a glimpse of applicants that they have never had before. Many employers check personal profiles before making interviewing and hiring decisions. And some posted material can leave employers wondering what type of employee you would be and how you would fit in with their company culture. This includes:
Inappropriate photos which include photos of you and your friends drinking, partying, being scantily dressed, and/or wearing clothes with inappropriate images/branding on them.
Inappropriate comments by your friends and family – it is recommended that you delete comments and photos that could diminish your image
Discussions about alcohol or drug use
Talking poorly about previous employers, employees, or coworkers
Discriminatory comments directed at anyone for any reason, for instance, negative comments about anyone’s gender, ethnicity, religion, etc…
Lying about qualifications
Sharing confidential information about past, current, or prospective employers
You need to know that you are representing who you are with what you present on your social profiles. Think of your name as your brand. How do you want others to see you and how would potential employers see you? If an employer is considering you for any position and is serious enough to research you online, make sure that your social profiles don’t come back to haunt you. Do research of your name to see what information and/or images come up. If you see something that needs to be cleaned up then you can work on getting it deleted/ removed (photos, comments, etc.).
Don’t list personal information or post comments, photos, or videos that you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Everything you put online should be looked at as public information. Remove any swear words, gripes about old employers, or discriminatory comments.
Create a professional online identity.
Join LinkedIn and other professional groups related to your industry. Recommendations are great to build your authority on LinkedIn.
Choose friends wisely on your social profiles. Employers will look at friends you associate with outside of work. This may not sound fair, but your friends say a lot about you.
Many employers reject applicants because they show poor communication skills. Be sure to check your grammar, spelling, and writing on your post. Treat your online presence as part of your brand portfolio. You are your own brand and you are always selling and promoting yourself.
Lastly, if you have any questions on how things look then find a good mentor that you can trust to help review and critique your social presence, resume and cover letter.