By: Roger Lear @rogerlear1
As our world gets more digital, your online identity will be accessed by anyone who wants to find you online. It is already happening today. You have heard all the stories. You apply to a job and the company checks Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr or just Google’s your name. Depending on the person doing this research, and what they find, will have a direct effect on if you even get an interview.
The statistics are that 85% of hiring managers Google a candidate before, or after, an interview and 45% of employers user Twitter, and Facebook, to research potential candidates. (Source: Microsoft Survey-Online Reputation on the Hiring Process)
While I believe that sites like Facebook and MySpace are “social networks” and should remain this way, the above statistic shows employers do not care. Imagine if you are up for a job and neck and neck with another candidate. Instead of the employer bringing you both back for another round of interviews, they make their final choice by comparing Facebook pages! Sound outrageous? It is and it is happening.
No matter what your thoughts are on this, you can control what an employer sees when they search for you on the internet.
Here are the steps:
Google your own name. Depending on how active you are on the internet will determine the results. LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and any social media site you belong to should come up first. If you are quoted in news stories, part of a directory, and member of an association or any organization where your name is on a website, this will also appear in the search results.
During a job search, the simple thing to do is to make all your social media accounts private (except LinkedIn). If you do that, employers cannot see any of your profiles.
Keeping your profiles public can help your employment chances. If your LinkedIn or Facebook account shows your commitment to previous jobs, the community, philanthropy or hobbies, this information may actually help an employer understand you better in addition to your resume. If your hobby is gardening and you have pictures of your prized tomatoes, does this help you get a job? It may if the hiring authority likes vegetables!
Get rid of negative information. Employers are humans too. Most actually like to see that you have a life outside of work. According to a study of 31,000 employers, the top areas of concerns for employers who look into social network sites are a) information about drug and alcohol use b) inappropriate photos c) bad communication skills d) Bad mouthing former employers e) unprofessional screen names. (Career Builder)
Add information to help your cause. Are you a member of an insurance association? Chamber? Hospitality group? Did you win any recent awards? Take a picture of yourself with the award and post it to Facebook or any of your accounts. Your friends will comment on it and employers will take notice. Online profiles can enhance your image!
Politicians have it bad. If you Google their name, they don’t have much control on the positive and negative articles written about them. The good news is that you do have control on what an employer sees about you. Building a great online reputation today is a must because employers looking for this information is becoming the norm.