More and more every year, our lives extend into the virtual world. Two-thirds of Americans have a profile on at least one social network, and up to 40 percent of Americans use Facebook on a daily basis. Whether we’re sharing text, photos, video or other online content, we put ourselves out on public display more now than at any other time.
Accordingly, employers are likewise turning to social networks for insights into their job applicants. A CareerBuilder.com survey from earlier this year found that 43 percent of employers research candidates on social networks, and 51 percent of those who do say that they’ve decided not to hire someone based on what they saw.
A Virtual Image That Works
Fair or not, the things that you and your friends might find funny, or that personal hobby that’s the center of your digital world, can stand between you and the job you really want. Here are some ways to clean up your profile and make yourself more attractive to employers.
- Research. Try your name in a few search engines and look at results a few pages deep. Is there anything there that you need to account for? Do you need to delete old blog posts or photos?
- Use privacy settings. You should be careful about what personal information you share online, anyway, but turning up privacy settings on your social profiles can keep prying eyes from finding those pictures from your last road trip with the gang. On Facebook, you can do this per individual post if you want to keep a more public profile.
- Review your activity. Your epic Twitter rant after your team lost the big game lives on and can be found by anybody who wants to know about you. Go through your posts and delete what you have to.
- Rebrand yourself. If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, create a profile there that highlights your career so far, and begin to build a network. You can also create free “nameplate” websites that can tell the story about you and your career that you want employers to see. Try About.me or Flavors.me for starters.
The Internet is an incredible tool for connecting people, but it also preserves what happens on it long after people have forgotten. Remember: Don’t put online anything that you don’t want to be public; instead, build the virtual persona that you want employers to see.
You can build a personal profile and use it to connect with other job seekers and career advancers on GoodProspects, plus get personalized advice from virtual career mentors.