Optimizing Your Online Presence For Your Job Search

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Optimizing Your Online Presence For Your Job Search

One of the key things to remember when looking for a job is that a strong online presence can help improve a potential employer’s opinion of you and can go a long way when it comes to helping you get the job you want and deserve. Unfortunately, there’s another side of that coin. Having a weak (or negative) online presence can actually be extremely detrimental to your chances of getting a good job, and it’s easier than you think to give a negative impression of yourself.

So—what can you do to improve your online presence?

  1. Google yourself. Have you ever Googled yourself? If you haven’t, then how can you have any idea what your potential employers will find when they Google you (a fairly standard practice among employers now). Here’s an example: when I Google myself some of the first results are my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, my Twitter account, my company profile as well as an article about a science fair I took part in when I was 13 from the Vancouver Sun’s archives. That’s not too bad, especially since I take care to manage my social profiles carefully (see point below). On the other hand, it is a little scary that something I did when I was 13 (whether it was good or bad) shows up when someone Google’s me now. When you take that into consideration, and you think of all the things that could possibly show up when someone searches for you, how can you not do your own research so that you’re able to mitigate any issues that might arise so that you are not blindsided by something you never expected an employer to learn about you.
  2. Consider all of your profiles. When someone Googles you, your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social accounts appear. That means that whether you’re friends with someone or connected with someone on a social site they can find you, and see what you’ve said. Take that into consideration when you’re creating accounts, and be careful of what you post that is available for public consumption. Just because your Facebook account is a “personal” one, doesn’t mean that employers won’t have the opportunity to view what you’ve posted.
  3. Be circumspect. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t have social profiles, in fact, having accounts on different social sites is an excellent way to network with other professionals and connections in your industry. Having said that however, it’s important to be conscious of the impression that your accounts give of you. Do you have inappropriate pictures posted? Have you ridiculed your past boss or co-workers? These things can have an enormous effect on whether or not you get your dream job and it’s important to be conscious of them.
  4. Offer “disclaimers.” If you have a Twitter account for example where you’re connected with colleagues or other professionals in your industry and you’d like to post your own personal opinion, make sure that your account reflects that by adding something along the lines of, “These tweets are my own opinion and do not reflect those of my employer,” to ensure that your company and professional presence is protected. That doesn’t mean that once you’ve added a disclaimer you can say whatever you want without repercussions, it just means that people will be aware that you separate your professional and personal lives and that you take the way you represent your business seriously.
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