It should go without saying that what is written on the web stays on the web. Once you post a status update or photo on the web, you are an open book for anyone searching for you, including prospective employers. According to a recent survey by Reppler, more than 90 percent of recruiters will check on you on social media sites. While it doesn’t seem fair an employer may judge you based on your online profiles, it’s a fact that they are watching.
Employers will search for information about you, and everything from your birthday party bash photos to your blog comments or LinkedIn Answers talking negatively about a previous employer could appear in the search results. So, before you apply for your next job, take stock of what an employer may find out about you online.
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Privacy Settings on Facebook and Twitter
• Learn how to use the new Facebook privacy settings. You can control who sees what posts. Think about what you are OK with a potential employer viewing and set your controls per post accordingly.
• On Twitter, unless your profile is private, anyone can view your updates. A private account on Twitter will limit your accessibility, which isn’t helpful for your job search. A good rule of thumb is to keep the most personal type of information sharing in a place where you have more control.
• Several high profile professionals have caught heat for inappropriate tweets. Be yourself, but tweet professionally and respectfully.
• Keep an eye on what other people post to your wall and your tags. It’s easy to control those settings, so people can still tag and post to your wall, but only you can see it.
While the paper resume of yesterday is still mandatory for most fields, you will want to create a professional online resume and presence. Sites like LinkedIn and About.me will give you the opportunity to outline your professional experience and direct employers to the information you’d like them to see. Make sure your information is current and error-free. According to the Reppler survey, the most frequent reason for rejecting a candidate based on his social media profiles is a discovery that the candidate lied about his qualifications (13 percent). Inconsistencies between your resume and the information found on social networks about your experience and qualifications could cost you the chance to interview.
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Most employers will at the very least search your name in Google. Know what is out there.
Set up a Google alert for yourself or your business. Monitor if anything inappropriate comes up and takes steps to remove it or bury it with positive and neutral content. Depending on your situation, you may find the services of a online reputation management company such as Reputation.com or Integrity Defenders helpful. For a fee, they will work with you to help you improve your online reputation.
Keeping your online presence employer-friendly is an ongoing process, so get into the habit of targeting your updates on social sites, publicly posting content you wouldn’t mind an employer viewing and monitoring where you pop up online.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.