Have you ever used the Internet to look up an old friend and run across their MySpace or Facebook profile? It’s fairly easy to find online information about ordinary people these days. But, did you realize that some employers use the Internet to search for more information about job candidates? This doesn’t mean they are searching for reasons against hiring them. However, sometimes the information that employers find influences their opinion about an applicant. What would an employer find out about you? Here are a few helpful hints to make sure your online image isn’t keeping you from your dream job.
Search your name. Looking up your name on a search engine can help you find what your name is linked to. If you have a popular name, you might get many results with none of them referring to you. But, even if the info is not about you, employers may not know it. You don’t want to be mistaken for someone with a poor image or a bad record. If this is the case, you can use Naymz.com to create a positive profile that will link to your other positive online profiles, instead of to someone else with the same name. When you Google your name, Naymz.com will be ranked within the first 10 results. Another way your name might also show up is if you leave a comment on a popular blog. If you’ve left a negative comment that reflects poorly on you, try contacting the site administrator to have the comment removed.
Know what you post. Know what information you’ve posted online in case an employer questions you about that information in an interview. You don’t want to be caught off guard by an interviewer asking about a blog post, quote or comment you posted online. If you don’t even remember what you said online, you might appear careless, and employers could think that attitude will translate into the workplace.
Clean up your image. Some of the online information that influences employers’ hiring decisions includes inappropriate pictures, displays of unprofessional behavior and negative remarks about current or past employers. If you are actively searching for a job and have a public blog or profile that employers could see, make sure it reflects positively on you. Remove any information that could negatively affect employers’ decisions about you and hinder your chances of landing a job. If you’re reluctant to remove this type of information and want your friends to still be able to access it, try changing your profile settings to private to limit who has access to your site.
Having an online presence can work in your favor if it reflects well on you, but it can work against you if you aren’t aware of what’s out there. Search your name to find the results employers could also find to determine your online image. Know what you have posted online and be able to answer any questions employers might have regarding the content. And, don’t forget to clean up your image if you see negative results. You don’t want your online presence to keep you from a new job opportunity.