Jobseeker’s Guide to Online Reputation Management
When searching for a job, it’s very common for employers nowadays to look at your online profile. This information isn’t just used to “rule out” candidates. What a company finds about you online should reassure them about your qualifications and suitability as a prospective employee … not raise red flags.
Prospective employers will make judgments about you based on what they find out about you online. You want to come across as committed, competent, skilled, and of strong character and integrity. You can manage the impression others have about you through your online presence. However, it is important that your online professional image is also authentic and credible.
What is online about you is more important than ever, and this guide will help you manage your online presence as it relates to the job search.
You should also set up Google Alerts for your name so that you can be alerted when new information is posted online about you.
Use your name as the search query and determine what information you want searched (Everything, News, Blogs, Video, Discussions, Book), how often you want to receive email alerts, how broad you want the results to be (Everything, Only the Best Results), and where you want the alerts sent.
You can modify these alerts at any time, so start with broad results and you can refine them over time.
►Me On the Web
“Me On the Web” is Google’s way of helping people manage their online brands. Using “Me On the Web,” you can create a profile to put your best foot forward, set up alerts to help you figure out when people are talking about you, and attempt to remove negative items related to your online presence.
Access Google’s “Me On the Web” here:
You will need to sign into your Google account — or create one — to access the tools.
Google recommends keeping your profile updated so people who are searching for you will be able to find precisely the information you want them to find.
To change your profile, click “Edit profile” in your dashboard.
You can also set up custom alerts. For your job search, you can set up alerts whenever a company you want to work for is mentioned. Just click “Add alert” and add in as many custom alerts as you want.
►Your Facebook Profile
Facebook is increasingly being used by job seekers — and employers — in the job search. More than 18 million Americans credit Facebook as the source of how they found their current job. A 2011 Jobvite study found that 84 percent of job seekers had profiles on Facebook.
Having a Facebook account will also give you access to Facebook-related applications (apps), such as BeKnown, Glassdoor, and Branchout, which use your Facebook network to help you connect to job opportunities. These tools allow you to leverage your network to find job openings and insider connections into the companies you want to work for.
It is very important to check out your privacy settings on Facebook. Restricting the information you show to the public is important — but don’t just “set it and forget it.” Facebook occasionally updates its privacy settings, so you should review your settings regularly.
Learn more about Facebook privacy settings here:
Be sure to post content related to your profession or career on your Facebook page — and make those posts public. Share content you find in industry publications, traditional media, and blogs. Comment thoughtfully on the content. Post inspirational quotes from business leaders and relevant facts, figures, and infographics.
Keep in mind, however, the “Golden Rule” of posting any information online: If you don’t want your mom (or grandmother, or sister) to see it, don’t post it. Anyone who has access to your private profile can take a screenshot and post it publicly.
►In addition, some employers are asking for access to Facebook accounts. They ask the jobseeker to log into their account and then peek over their shoulder as they scroll through the account. In this instance, if you change post settings to “Only Me,” those will still be visible if you are logged into your account, and the hiring manager will be able to see them on your page. You are better off deleting controversial content — or not posting it in the first place. As the old saying goes, “Sometimes the best offense is a best defense.”
►If you have not tried it take a look at Glassdoor.
Glassdoor is another excellent resource for “insider” company research. You can learn about the company from current and former employees.
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