Sorting out your online presence
If you’re job searching, you should be thinking about your online presence. Here, we look at the changes you should be making on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as your own website.
Do you know what people are likely to find when they search for you online? If you’re looking for a job after university, it’s a serious question that you should be asking yourself.
More and more recruiters are searching for details of their candidates online before they even consider the applications, so making sure that you’re portraying yourself in a positive light is essential if you take your career seriously.
Do not fear, as we’ll help you to make sure your online presence is nothing but positive (making you out to be a sensible workaholic who enjoys a mixture of interesting extra curricular activities).
Knowing where you are now
Start where the recruiters will – Google your name (it makes you feel like a celeb). Depending on how active you are online, you may come across social media profiles, blogs you’ve written and various other results. From here, you’ll be able to prioritise what you need to do.
Firstly, clean up the results that come up earliest. After this, you can focus on building a further presence that will help to show off your skills to potential employers.
Cleaning up your Facebook
Facebook is the most popular social networking site, so it’s where most people will start when they’re looking for you online.
It’s a place where you catch up with friends, so there’s bound to be pictures on there of various nights out. That’s fine, but do you really want a recruiter to see them?
What seems like a fun night out to you could make someone else think that you’re a party animal.
How can they find your profile?
First off, try searching for your name plus Facebook in Google. If your name is quite common then try your name, your location and Facebook.
You also may not know that you can search by using your email address in Facebook itself. Give it a go and see if your profile shows up.
How to improve your Facebook presence
Change your profile picture and cover photo to something inoffensive. It may not be a good idea to have a picture of you chugging a funnel of beer as your cover photo!
Most importantly, make sure that your privacy settings mean that only your friends can see your photos and status updates. You can also be extra tight by not allowing other users to search for you in Facebook (making it harder to recruiters to find you).
Also, look at the pages that you’ve ‘liked’. If there’s anything in there that could be incriminating (through a frape or otherwise), either delete it or make sure it’s not viewable to the public.
And finally, to check everything looks ok, view your profile and click on ‘view as’ to see what it looks like to the public. If it all looks okay, you’re done!
Cleaning up your Twitter
Twitter is not as popular as Facebook but the number of users is starting to increase recently.
If you don’t know how it works it basically allows users to post statuses about anything and everything.
How they can find you on Twitter?
It’s a bit more tricky for employers and recruiters to find you on Twitter but it is possible. If your name is your username or you have your Twitter linked to your Facebook etc. then they should be able to find you.
Just put yourself in their shoes and search for your Twitter account on twitter.
How to improve your Twitter presence
Twitter is very similar to Facebook in terms of improving your presence. Make sure your profile picture isn’t offensive, and don’t share any public updates that could paint you in a bad light.
You also have the option to make your tweets public, which is the default setting, or protected.
If your tweets are public, remember that everything you write can be seen by anyone who happens to stumble across your profile. Before you retweet anything, bear in mind that it will also come up on your profile (every Tweet you ever write is easily visible on one page).
We’ve all seen the news stories recently about ‘Twitter trolls’ and the trouble they get themselves into online. They’re an extreme example, but never think that you can say anything you like on the internet without consequences!
Creating an impact on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the social network for professionals, so if you want to get ahead in the world of work, it’s wise to build a presence. Some headhunters use it to search for potential candidates, so you never know what might come to it.
How can the find you on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook and Twitter because your profile can not only be searched for in the site but also be found on Google.
How to improve your Twitter presence
If you don’t have one yet, sign up for a profile, and treat it like an online CV.
Fill in all the necessary fields to show off your expertise and skills, and make sure that you optimise it with keywords that recruiters will be searching for when they’re looking for people with your talents.
Next, build connections by searching for people that you’ve worked with. It’s bad practice to just add every single person you can find, regardless of whether or not you know them, so be sensible and build your network slowly but steadily.
If you’ve done some great work for someone, don’t be scared to ask them for a recommendation on the site. It’s this sort of information that will make you stand out.
Once your profile is good to go, start to look for groups in your area of expertise. You can pick up some great tips and industry knowledge, and if you’re contributing to discussions, you might even make some connections with people who could help to further your career.
Building your own site or blog
You can make your own website to show up above all of your social profiles as well as showcase your talents!
If you really want to go the extra mile, you should consider building your very own site . Whatever industry you’re thinking of going into, it’s a surefire way to stand out and impress.
There’s a number of ways to do it, and it’s probably a lot easier than you think. You don’t need to be a web design expert to create something that will look great. Sign up on WordPress for a free blog, pick a theme (this is basically just a layout that’s readymade for you), and go about organising your pages.
Then, head over to 123-Reg where you can buy a domain such as yourname.com to ensure your site is more likely to be found. It’ll only cost you a couple of quid in most cases.
You might decide to have just a few pages that explain a little more about yourself and how you can be contacted, preferably with examples of some work you’ve done.
Alternatively, you could start up a blog. This is a way of providing up to date thoughts and opinions on happenings in your field. So, for example, if you fancy a career in writing, you might write regular updates in the areas that particularly interest you.
If you want to work in HR, you could blog about the latest developments in employment law and what they could mean for businesses. It’s all about showcasing your skills and showing employers what you have to offer.
When employers find that this is coming up first in the search results, it demonstrates just how web savvy you are!
There are a few little extras that you might have to take care of:
- Check google images – if you find a photo of yourself that you don’t like on a site you don’t know then contact them and ask them to take it down
- Search as much as you can – search other terms like “your name, your hometown” or “your name, your previous job.”
- Search some more… – Search your phone number and email addresses too.
- Be patient – Google can take a while to update some of its details so don’t panic too much if your blog isn’t showing up yet
- Clean up EVERYTHING – You might find an old mySpace of Bebo account that you set up when you were 14-16. Don’t let it come back to haunt you.
Have you used your online presence to your advantage when it comes to finding a job? What tips would you share with other graduates?