Social media and other online aspects are key factors in today’s job market. Your online presence can make or break a job opportunity, so job seekers need to be aware of their digital presence and how to use it to their advantage.The first thing to keep in mind is that employers conduct online searches because they want to get a better feel for a potential employee. The goal is not to find negative information!
The best way to start improving your digital presence is to search yourself. This allows you to view the information out there about you as a potential employer will view it. After you evaluate your current digital presence you have 3 steps to take: (1) Fix what you can control, (2) Try to fix what others control, and (3) Create positive content.
Fix what you can control:
- Start by adjusting the privacy settings on your various social media sites. Employers do not need to see everything that gets posted to your Facebook wall.
- Make sure the pictures that are publicly viewable are not compromising in any way.
- Fix any spelling and grammatical errors in your profile. Potential employers may get turned off by a lot of abbreviations or text message style writing.
Try to fix what others control:
- Untag yourself from any compromising or negative photos.
- If your friends enjoy posting or tagging you in posts that deal with unprofessional subjects, you can ask them to send these to you in a private email or message instead.
- You should log in to your social media sites regularly to keep an eye on what posts and pictures you are tagged in as well as what is posted to your site.
Create positive content: Improving your digital presence is not just about removing harmful information, but it is just as important to create a positive content!
- You should remain active on your social media sites by posting your accomplishments and positive news.
- Job seekers should also post about topics that are relevant to their industry. This demonstrates both knowledge and desire to work in the field.
- Try to avoid posting about “hot-button” topics (i.e. religion and politics) that can spark strong opinions and debate.
- It is important to choose the words and phrases you use carefully. Keep in mind that you do not have the advantage of verbal cues and therefore the things you post can be easily misunderstood.
- You should also have consistency between your different social media sites. Use the same name (i.e. Sue vs. Susan) and profile picture. You should also link your different sites to one another to encourage higher rank in a search engine.
A few things to keep in mind regarding your digital presence:
1) You should be mindful of your social media sites even when you are not actively looking for a job.
2) Editing your digital presence should be done before you start actively applying for jobs and posting your resume.
3) Be aware of “digital doppelgangers” you may have (other people with the same name who show up in search engine results).
4) Building a personal website for professional purposes keeps all of your relevant information for potential employers in one, easily accessible place.
Get Creative: What other ways can you think of to improve your digital presence?