As companies look to hire college grads for open jobs in the coming months, you should begin to pay attention to your online footprint. Far too many people believe that changing privacy settings on social media can eradicate any trace of their presence on the Internet.
However, no matter how inactive you feel you are, there can always be evidence of your history on various websites. Here are some reasons to begin cleaning up your online presence.
There’s always an electronic trail
According to Inc. magazine, many individuals feel that because they aren’t active on social media or utilize online communications, they don’t have a digital profile. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as you’ll always have a digital profile. Anytime you’ve been quoted, mentioned or shared a story online, there’s a record of it that can be found. Because of this, you need to make sure that your profiles, such as Facebook or Twitter, are cleaned up and made to look as professional as possible. More recruiters are beginning to search social media for information on potential candidates, so be vigilant in reviewing your information and presentation.
The job search has changed
Because the world has rapidly shifted into the Digital Age, many companies have adapted to the new market. Forbes magazine explained that you can’t find college graduate jobs in the traditional sense anymore. Today, most recruiters are using the Internet to share open positions, and potential candidates need to network more as a result. The old days of position listings in the newspapers are dwindling, being replaced by job sites like Monster and CareerBuilder. By building your online presence on a professional level, you increase your exposure to prestigious companies and avoid getting passed over in favor of more polished applicants.
Life is one giant social network
From landing internships to finding a new job at your favorite company, the way professionals network has evolved. While people still hand out resumes and business cards, much of the process has gone digital, especially with the advent of LinkedIn. When you attend career fairs and networking events, every hand you shake is a potential employer or colleague. How you present yourself in public and online is akin to a personal advertisement of your personality and ability to contribute to a company’s success. You should be cognizant of how you carry yourself to ensure that you’re conveying the right message to prospective recruiters or hiring managers.
Google is your friend (and enemy)
With the Internet being one long trail of information that can’t be deleted, Google can be your ally. When you sit down to clean up your online presence, you can enter your name into the search engine and get a glimpse of your own Web history, according to LifeHacker. You won’t need to click through every page, only a few will suffice. Make note of what you find – maybe an embarrassing photo or expletive Tweet needs to be removed from your Internet timeline. Remember that recruiters will often do the same kind of search and the information they uncover might be their first impression of you as an employee. Anything that you don’t like or feel isn’t an accurate representation of your character should be deleted.
Seek out your reputation
After you’ve finished your personal search of your online presence, you might want to consider seeking some reputation management help. TechRepublic.com recommended that job seekers try out Reputation.com. It’s a service that allows users to view how they’re represented online and monitor their footprint. You can search and delete any negative information about you that recruiters could find as well. Additionally, it has guidelines on how to control what people are able to see from a search of your name.
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