Most people, including job seekers, have a lengthy internet history and they are quite often not aware of it. Try to Google your own name and see what comes up. You might be surprised. We use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn almost daily and might even make public wish lists on Amazon.
All of these sites and information about you create an online brand and an impression in the eyes of the recruiter. If you are looking for marketing jobs or work in the marketing field, then you have to seriously consider how you are portraying yourself online because all of the things you do online, i.e. your user-generated content, are visible to anyone who knows how to search, such as recruiters. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to ensure that you know what is visible and what is not and to manage your online brand. So how to do you this?
The first step is to Google yourself and to see what is already out there. The higher up the results the more authority this page has. This could mean that a comment in an open forum from 3 years ago may appear in the first page of Google’s results. Decide on what you don’t want recruiters to see. If you, for example, have posted a comment in a forum that is not relevant to recruiters and may potentially damage your online brand, then consider deleting the post. If you lost your log in details, don’t be afraid to email the webmaster and to ask if he can delete it on your behalf. Continue doing this, until you are satisfied with the results that are appearing on the search engines when you type in your name.
Change your settings
This is really important. Quite often we don’t realize that status updates and/or certain albums on Facebook can still be viewed by the public. Take your time to read through the settings and ensure that recruiters can only see what you want them to see. This is the same for your LinkedIn profile. Many forget that you can decide on whether you’d prefer your professional profile picture to be publicly visible or only to your connections. Personally, I believe that Facebook should be completely hidden from the public, only visible to your friends. If you are an experience marketing employee with many connections then consider showing your profile picture. If you are a recent graduate, I would not display the picture because it may give recruiters a different impression, even though it is just a picture. It is better to be safe!
With promoting yourself, I am referring to your online brand and your differentiating factor, i.e. your unique selling point. Knowing your unique selling point is a must because this will ensure that you stand out from the rest. An example of how to promote your unique selling point is when you speak more than two languages and you ensure that your twitter profile description says “Tweets in English and Spanish”. When recruiters find your twitter profile then they see this which in turn makes you more credible. Don’t forget to include language proficiency’s in your LinkedIn profile as well!