Importance of Having a Clean Online Presence
As a student and young professional it is imperative to have an online presence. An online presence simply means that you can find yourself and anything closely related to you on some of the prominent sites out there today. Such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any other site where you may be virtually present.
Social media is playing a larger part in how companies consider your employment. More hiring managers today are looking at applicants’ social profiles before making hiring decisions. Employers aren’t just looking for blatantly bad behavior, though. They also want to make sure you’ll be a great addition to their team.
In today’s competitive job market, it is important for you to stand out on paper, in person, and even online. In addition to impressive, easy-to read resumes and smart, personable cover letters, young professionals need to be aware of what they’re sharing on their social networks.
Like or hate it, your social media profiles are an extension of your resume. Roughly 80% of recruiters and hiring managers use social media to look for and vet job candidates, making it extremely important to have a professional presence on the Internet.
You never know who is watching
We live in a time where sharing any and everything is at the tip of our fingertips. Just because we are in a social media age, does not mean you have to ‘follow the hype’ of everyone else who is doing the same. Future employers, recruiters, admission officers, clients, co workers, etc could be out there and will judge you based on who you are online before they meet you in person. Is it fair? Probably not, but you do not want to take any chances when it involves your future.
If you’re going to manage your online reputation, you need to know what employers are most likely to find, so conduct your own search.”Put yourself in the shoes of a potential recruiter, and Google yourself,”but remember, some people use other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, and the results can be a little different. So make sure you use all three.Usually you don’t need to go super deep with your search results. “A vast majority of people never go beyond the first page of results, so those are clearly the most important.
“Hiring managers are reviewing social media pages to become educated about the background and brand the person is articulating and to look for red flags”.
Job seekers have to make sure their social media pages, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google+, mesh with what they are saying on their resume or in their cover letter.
Equally important is the type of content you post, the pages you like, and the comments you make online. Even the people you associate with on social media can hurt your prospects.While social media presents a lot of opportunities to hurt your chances of landing a job, it can also be a great way to showcase yourself, your knowledge and your expertise. Even if you are fresh out of college, it’s a good idea to start a profile on LinkedIn and to reach out to people in the field you are aiming to launch a career in to build you network. Professionals and non-professionals should use their social media pages to build their personal brand by posting content that is relevant to the industry they are in or want to be in. It’s also a great way to highlight any leadership experience you have, even if it’s volunteer work or through any organization.It doesn’t mean you can’t post personal pictures of yourself out having a cocktail or walking your dog, you just want to make sure you meld professional type commentary in as well.
4 Steps to a More Professional Social Presence
STEP 1 : First Impressions
The first things an employer is going to see when she/he views your social media profile are your profile photo and your cover photo. Be sure to choose pictures that paint clean, friendly images of an up-and-coming professional eager to earn gainful employment.
Dos and Don’ts for your profile and cover photos :
– Do expect potential employers to scan your social profiles
– Do have a clean, professional photo
– Do show off a friendly personality
– Don’t use offensive photos (anything containing nudity, alcohol, racial slurs, offensive language/signs, etc.)
STEP 2 : Scrubbing Your Profile
While the first impression might be the most important, employers are not going to stop after viewing your profile image. Your next step is to go through your activity log and delete or hide other potentially offensive content on your profile.
STEP 3 : Profile Polish
Now that you’ve scrubbed through each of your profiles, go through and double check that comments made by you and your friends are also appropriate. Be sure that all photos (not just your profile image and cover images) are also appropriate; or, set your privacy settings accordingly.
STEP 4 : Playing the Professional
For better or for worse, your social media profiles serve as embodiments of your personal brand, and, as such, they are no longer idle playgrounds, but tools to help you get an internship, land a job, or attract future clients. Keep up your profiles by:
– Posting updated photos of you and your co-workers at work functions
– Share photos of you and your peers at appropriate school functions (volunteering, dictating your thesis, etc.)
– Follow brands and blogs relevant to your field of study or the line of work you’re trying to get into
– Share important news and analysis posts and tweets from influential brands and blogs within your field of interest.
The Top 10 Mistakes Job Seekers Make with their Social Profiles
- Bad profile picture
The picture that you choose for your social media profile speaks volumes about your value to recruiters. A bad photo will stop recruiters from learning more about you. Therefore, stop with all the “cutesy” or “expressive” pictures and instead get a professional headshot photo taken. Use this on your profile.
- Not using real name
There seems to be varying opinions about the use of real first and last names for social networks, due to privacy issues. However, if you want a hiring manager to be able to learn more about you, create at least one social profile that contains your full name. This will be your career building profile so keep it professional.
- Duplicate social accounts
While you are creating new social network profiles, make sure to weed out any duplicate references to your name across all social networks. Why is this important? Because recruiters will be looking for you online and if they come across multiple accounts using your name or variations of your name this will throw them off and they will think you are trying to beat the system.
- Questionable or offensive content
A big part of presenting yourself online in social networks is about preserving your online image. Make sure that you remove any potentially offensive content such as posts, images, or videos created by yourself or your followers. You can disable them so that they will still remain in your archive, however they will be invisible. This also goes for content you are tagged in by others.
- No comment moderation :
It’s fairly common for people to vent online in their social networks, nowadays. However, as a serious job seeker you should control what you say on your accounts. This also includes moderating any comments left by others. Make sure you’re putting your best image out there and let others know you are on the search for a job so they must keep it clean.
- Bashing current school or college or employer or clients :
This is a big no-no. There’s virtually no recruiter or employer out there who wants to see negative comments, complaining or whining about a current or past employers. We all have bad days at work, but leave it off social feeds. This is especially true when writing anything negative about clients. Avoid this at all costs.
- Misleading information across networks :
Whatever you do, please do not try to fake it on social networks. Recruiters are very wise to the different tactics that job seekers use to try to paint themselves in a better light. The best course of action is to create an authentic brand for yourself. This includes highlighting your skills, achievements, and credentials. Be truthful and never, ever lie to look better.
- Lack of professional networking :
Another mistake that job seekers continually make with their social network profiles is to avoid networking with other professionals in the industry. To a hiring manager, this looks like either a candidate is inexperienced or not entirely serious about their job search. Reach out and connect with colleagues to build your networks.
- Leaving profile open to hackers
Hacking of social media profiles is something that happens on a daily basis around the world. When this happens, your social profile can become an instant spam creation tool that will send out annoying and offensive messages to anyone in your network. Avoid this from happening by setting your privacy settings and monitoring your social networks for any potentially specials activity. Sign out of your accounts when you’re not using them and use caution when accessing social networks via mobile devices.
- No social profiles, anywhere
Job seekers may not realize this, but from the perspective of a recruiter — not being able to find a social media profile for a candidate raises a red flag. Why? Because in this day and age it is expected that candidates will be actively networking to find jobs online. Job seekers are expected to have some level of knowledge of the internet and social networking. Not having a profile means that you are not up to speed with the latest technology.
We hope that you take the time to review your own social network profiles and clean them up so you are not making the above mistakes. Use these pointers as a guide.