Before You Apply: Assess and Clean up Your Online Presence

Everyone knows that it can take years to establish a reputation and just minutes to destroy it. That’s why it’s so important to guard against ruin when you are looking for a job -- trouble that can come in the form of your online presence. Did you know that hiring managers often look at your social media profiles along with your resume and cover letter?

A recent survey indicates that over three-quarters of recruiters used search engines to find out more about a candidate, and nearly half of those eliminated some of those candidates after what they found. So, while you can have the skills and experience for a position, you may miss out on the opportunity because of what you’ve posted on your social channels.

Here are some of the top concerns that send up red flags to hiring managers:

  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Inappropriate photos
  • Poor communication skills
  • Negative posts about an employer or co-worker
  • Questionable screen names
  • Sharing confidential information about former employers

While it would have been better never to have posted anything inappropriate, there is still time to clean up you channels before you hit send on your application. Here are some steps you can take before you apply:

Make an assessment

Sign out of your Google account and search for your name. Then use other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. Take notes on what pops up. Is this what you would want a hiring manager to see? Going through this exercise will show you what you need to change.

Eliminate what you didn’t like

Don’t count on explaining away some of the questionable stuff that comes up on your profile. If a recruiter sees something questionable, you may not get a face-to-face interview. Remove now, before it can cause you any trouble. There are processes for doing this yourself (you can untag yourself or delete old posts on Facebook, for instance), or you can hire a company like BrandYourself to manage your reputation for you.

Replace it with positive content

It might not be enough to take out the negative stuff; you must replace it with good things. Now, that doesn’t mean filling the pages with fake information. Instead, it requires you to think about all the positives in your life and career—interests, volunteer work, skills, achievements, etc.—and showcasing them in your LinkedIn profile or other social media pages. Also, make sure your photos, including your profile picture, show you in a favorable light.

Consider creating a personal website

Your own website can make you look professional by helping you build your personal brand. It can set you apart from those candidates who still keep unfavorable pictures on each of their social media profiles. Those pictures may be fun memories for you, but they don’t have a place in your job hunt!

Work with professionals

At United Personnel, we’ll use our 30-plus years of experience to guide you toward a job that’s right for you. Whether it’s a short-term placement or a direct hire position you’re looking for, we can help you find it. 

Whenever you’re ready to make a move, make us your first contact!