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Potential employers will research candidates using the internet: who are you online?

3 minute read

Potential employers will research candidates using the internet: who are you online?

Putting together your CV and cover letter, taking care of your applications and thinking of answers to potential interview questions all take up time when searching for job opportunities, so much so that you might end up neglecting some other important aspects of the process.

This is even truer if you’ve been at university for the past couple of years as you may have grown your digital footprint online, sometimes without meaning to. Don’t let your digital presence get in the way of you and your dream job by using the tips I’ve listed below to understand what potential employers see when they search online for you; something that is becoming the norm before hiring someone.

1. Google yourself

To start with, head over to a widely used search engine (like Google) and simply type in your name. You’ll be presented with a list of website results and images that are linked with your name and there may also be results from other people who share your name as well.

Go through at least the first five pages of website results and look over what’s included. Perhaps it’s linked to your social media profiles? Or a funny or embarrassing comment on a story that’s managed to find its way into the search results? There might even be a video of you on YouTube.

Make a note of everything you find in the website links and also the image results, whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. This will help you to discover how much you need to do to make sure you’re presenting the best version of yourself online to potential new employers.

2. Consider your privacy settings

If you find that most of the search results are coming from your social media profiles, you should probably invest a bit of time adjusting your privacy settings.

Although you may not be able to hide some things that have already been indexed by search engines, changing your privacy settings to keep more of your details, posts and imagery private can help to filter out future content. Saying this, it’s may be easier to avoid adding any photos that don’t reflect you in the way you want for the time being!

3. Spend some time on your social profiles

When you’re looking at your privacy settings on social media, take some time to give your profiles a tidy up. If you’re partial to sharing lots of photos, memes and videos of the wild things you get up to on the weekends, it might be a good idea to keep these on your phone rather than sharing them across social media.

Make sure your details, language and images are consistent across each of your social profiles, and that your profile image is friendly but also professional. You might want to consider deleting some posts and images you have previously shared if you think that a potential employer may deem them inappropriate or they don’t give the right impression.

Saying this, don’t be afraid to keep posts and photos that showcase your personality and hobbies you enjoy doing to give some insight into the type of person you are. Employers don’t expect you to be an academic robot either!

4. Create some additional branded assets

You can now start to create more professional social media branded assets, or build on those you have already started. Spend some time getting your LinkedIn profile up to scratch, and take advantage of tools like SlideShare to present and showcase your presentations. On Twitter, you can also start engaging in some well-chosen relevant chats to show you’re passionate about the industry you’re applying for jobs in.

Just remember, securing your first professional job role isn’t the end of the road, you still need to make sure you’re keeping tabs on your online brand. Keep building on who you are online, adding all your new achievements to LinkedIn and continuing to get involved with relevant Twitter conversations. This will all help with building relationships, both colleague and client, and assisting your future career prospects.

Looking for more career advice? Take a look at my recommended reading list below:

How to create your personal brand
How the internet has changed recruitment
How to conquer interview nerves
Looking for a new career? Here’s how to stand out

Bianca Miller-Cole is a brand ambassador for the .uk domain names, and managing director and founder of The Be Group and Bianca Miller London. Passionate about helping others improve their personal brand, she frequently shares her expertise with students at events and forums around the country.

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