We have heard the saying that first impressions are everything. When it comes to the world of cyberspace and your digital footprint, the online image that you created can either make or break your case as a job seeker. Anytime you are posting a photo, sharing content with others, liking or commenting on somebody’s blog post, you represent your personal and professional brand and you bring attention to your brand.
For a long time, recruiters heavily relied on the resumes alone to determine if the candidate was a good fit. That has changed. Now. Through the use of search engines, social networks and companies like Social Intelligence, businesses have ready access to a lot more information regarding you than ever before. During the selection and employment process, companies are able to information that you think is hidden, allowing them to learn so much more about than you think, including many aspects of your personal life. Social Intelligence Corp is the provider of social media reports, specializing in employment background screenings. Their Social Media Hiring Report captures any activity on the internet relating to the candidate that is potentially unlawful, potentially violent behavior, racism and/or demonstrations of intolerance, and sexually explicit material. You do not want to eliminate yourself from the hiring pool because of the content associated with you online that puts you in a negative light.
There are a lot of tools out there that can help you build, repair and maintain your digital footprint and your online reputation. Google’s Me on the Web tool notifies you when personal data appears on the web. Pipl is the most comprehensive people search on the web and it makes it easy to get contact, social and professional information about people. Social Assurity provides several solutions targeted at managing and improving your digital footprint and professional reputation. And ReputationDefender offers its clients a number of services to help adjust online search results for themselves and their businesses. In a time when modern technology continues to advance rapidly, hiring managers, human resources, and recruiters are looking for the digital footprint you are leaving with comments, pictures and twits you are sending. It's time to take advantage of the technology that is allowing you to showcase your professionalism online and build or repair your online brand. Posting purposeful content as this can help:
- Respectable posts that show you having fun in the office, during your free time or in the community
- Informational or motivational posts that advance or uplift the reader or show industry awareness
- Links to articles, market data, and information that show an employer you are aware of the space
- Infographics or other images that highlight your hobby or industry
- Inspirational quotes, jokes and other easy to digest media that is in good taste
Some of the below items with instantly disqualify you from consideration:
- Derogatory, inappropriate, and unprofessional pictures, videos or information, including your username
- Affiliations with drug and alcohol misuse, and criminal activity or involvement of any kind
- Negative commentary about past employers or disclosure of confidential information
- Discriminatory verbiage about race, gender, physical ability, or religion
- Links to questionable content posted by others that includes sexual and / or violence-related content
Be mindful of what you AND others are posting on your networks. Allowing others to post content on your profile may imply your support of such topics. The same advice applies to any blogs or websites that you own. From my interactions with colleagues (recruiters and HR managers) and I can assure you that recruiters view blog posts, comments to blog posts, sites like Pipl, White Pages, and Whois, along with the list of other online destinations. You might have a personal blog or a website that has nothing to do with your professional life. If they find it, be sure it will be taken into consideration. The above list of bullet points is a list of NO CALLBACK bullets, and recruiters can uncover a lot by using your email address, yes, the one you provided on your resume.
When you broadcast some of the below and similar items on your personal site and social media accounts, you gain interest with the companies and recruiters:
- Background information that authenticates your position within an industry
- Displays of your creativity and interest in ways that highlight your contribution and positive personality
- Effective communication skills and avoiding the “text talk”
- Awards and achievements, particularly those that emphasize your professional dimensions
- Active role in the community and teamwork
Perform a digital name check, change your privacy settings on social media, revise your personal blog if necessary, delete abandoned social media accounts, work with professional firms like Social Assurity or Reputation Defender. Finally, when you’re about to post an angry status or emotional tweet, make sure you’d be happy if a recruiter saw your post and formed an opinion of you based on it. Also remember that LinkedIn tends to come up first in a personal search engine query, so keep your LinkedIn profile strictly professional. Don’t publish offensive or incriminating posts and share interesting information that promotes your professional brand.
Here are the brief descriptions and links to the online tools mentioned in the article:
http://www.google.com/alerts Google’s Me on the Web tool notifies you when personal data appears on the web.
http://pipl.com/ The most comprehensive people search on the web. Pipl makes it easy to get contact, social and professional information about people.
http://www.whitepages.com/ People and public records search. Find contact information and background reports on yourself.
https://www.whois.com/ If you own a website, search domain name registration records.
http://www.socialintel.com/ Social Intelligence Corp is the provider of social media reports, specializing in employment background screenings. The Social Media Hiring Report captures any activity on the internet relating to the candidate that is potentially unlawful, potentially violent behavior, racism and/or demonstrations of intolerance, and sexually explicit material.
http://www.reputationdefender.com/reputation Online reputation management. ReputationDefender offers its clients a number of services to help adjust online search results for themselves and their businesses.
http://socialassurity.com/ Offers several solutions targeted at managing and improving your digital footprint and professional reputation.