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Clean up your online profile

Posted on 7/11/2014 by Jo Hodge

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With more and more social media platforms showing personal information and the  ability to instantly communicate your thoughts and views online, it is more important than ever to ensure you are presented positively and according to how you wish to be perceived by potential employers.

More employers are searching applicants online using search engines before meeting them. Most popularly profiles are checked out on LinkedIn and Facebook. Having a good online profile can benefit you when searching for a new job, but it can also be a draw back if not managed properly.

We have put together a few pointers to consider when searching for a new role.

Manage your profiles

Choose which social media platforms you want to be present on and are happy for employers to see. Generally Facebook and Twitter are viewed as personal social platforms, where as LinkedIn is basically your online CV. If you want to be seen by employers, then it is wise to create a profile on here, but you may wish to hide personal networks from public searches such as Facebook.

Run a search using a search engine such as Google or Bing on your own name. For most people it won’t be obvious which profile is yours and you may only find one or two mentions of your name. However if you do come across a relevant listing, check the information is accurate and would not be detrimental in your search.

Keep content accurate, clean and appropriate

Any content you put on your profile should be appropriate for all to see. If you wouldn’t want an employer to see it then don’t post it. Sites such as Facebook allow you to set your own security preferences, if you are posting photos or being tagged in photos that are not of a professional nature ensure you and only your connections can see these. You can find more on managing these settings here >

Use lists / circles to segment contacts for appropriate content, with appropriate privacy settings for each group.

You can delete your own past comments and photos. If someone has commented about you online or tagged you in photos, most sites will allow you to delete these if on your profile, if not you can always contact that person asking them to remove it. Ensure your profile picture (especially on LinkedIn) is a headshot picture and not a group shot at a party!

If you comment on blogs/forums etc, then your profile may be easier to find through search engines. Ensure that any comments you make cannot be seen as a negative by a hiring manager, but shows your skills and experience in your field.

Ensure any information in your profile is accurate and true. LinkedIn should show a detailed career history. Employers may look at dates you have stated for employment on your LinkedIn profile and compare this to y our CV. If they don’t match up this could mean missing out on an opportunity for an interview. Do create headlines, describing what you do and not just your job title and connect to people you know in your field.

Target your online message & show personality

If a hiring manager searches for you on Google, give them an interesting strapline about yourself. This should be a short description with your key skills, experience, inputted into the ‘about you’ section on most social media sites.

If you create a profile on sites such as LinkedIn, ask for recommendations from clients or previous work colleagues on your work and industry knowledge. Don’t ask family or friends to endorse you, as these don’t hold as much value. If you write a blog, ensure this is linked to your online profiles as it shows you keep up to date with latest market trends and shows your personality.

If you have a work or non-personal Twitter account, connect this to your LinkedIn profile, that way employers can see your Twitter updates when looking at your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t hide your profile completely, particularly if applying for a role that involves use of social media. Employers will be suspicious and feel you are hiding something. They want to see a bit of your personality.

Claim your screen name on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Register a URL for websites if appropriate. This looks more professional and helps employers find you. Make sure your email address is a professional one and not a nickname!

Finally, you can limit any potential negativity by:

  • Checking your privacy settings – some websites change these every so often, so ensure to keep checking them.
  • Remove any personal information or pictures that you would not want a potential employer to see
  • Ask connections to remove anything they have posted about you that you don’t want on your profile.
  • Be sure to continue checking your profile online periodically.

If used correctly, an online social media presence can help with your job search; you just need to keep track of it.