Job seekers can spend hours crafting the perfect resume and finely tuning cover letters, but this can all be in vain if a poorly managed online identity sabotages a job opportunity. Employers are looking to find as much information as possible about prospective employees, and performing a quick Google search is a quick and cost-effective way to weed out applicants. Review these helpful tips on how to build a professional online identity and avoid losing out on a future job!
#1- Research your current online ID
Typing your name into Google and looking through the relevant search results is a good start, but dig deeper. Websites such as Spokeo, Pipl, and ZoomInfo are online people databases, and they are searchable by name, e-mail address, or phone number, among other options. These sites compile information from social media websites and other publically available sources. If you see anything that you do not want employers to know, then you can start cleaning up your online identity.
#2- Privatize social media information
A common mistake by job seekers is to assume that their activity on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter is only accessible to their friends. Double-check your security settings on any social media site you use, as well as sites that you no longer use but are still active. Keeping all pictures and personal information private is a good start; making yourself unsearchable is even better.
#3- Publicize positive information
All of this advice is not meant to make you invisible on the internet. There are positive aspects to being found through a web search; putting out relevant information that makes you look professional and qualified can boost your stature with employers. LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking site, allows you to build a profile and list all of your job experience, qualifications, and relevant activities in one place. In effect, it is a place to publically post your best attributes for employers to find.
With a little bit of research and work, job seekers can turn a possible liability into an opportunity to market themselves to potential employers.
Post originally written by Cathy Vu, former Science Librarian.