While the nation’s unemployment numbers have showed signs of improvement in recent months, there are still millions and millions of Americans in search of a job.
With that being the case, many of them may not be entirely focused on one of the more important issues that can impact their search – their online reputation.
In today’s Internet world and with the ability to access just about every possible piece of information available on anyone at any given time, it behooves job seekers to make sure their online reputation will not come back to haunt them.
Yes, someone applying for a job can have a stellar work record, strong references and a great desire to want to be a part of the company they are interviewing with. That being said, it only takes one online slip up to mess up an otherwise impressive resume during an employer background check.
Importance of Online Reputation Management
With online reputation management, individuals can monitor their online activities and/or review what is being said about them.
According to one study, more than 85 percent of recruiters report they initiate a Google search on potential hires prior to determining whether or not to add them to their companies.
Among the things job candidates should look for online before applying and/or interviewing for a position is:
- Any unflattering pictures of them making their way around the Internet;
- Any tweets, shares etc. of language that could be considered offensive;
- Any affiliations with groups that some employers would view as questionable, i.e. political, religious;
- Any prior activities gone public that involved legal issues.
Make the Search Effort a Priority
In order to better understand your online reputation, start by doing a search of your name and what is and isn’t public about it.
Google your name and review the initial information provided. Next, look at items that could be viewed in a negative light by a potential employer, then delete any tags from pictures that can show you in a negative light.
Once you have removed any negative data and/or imagery, provide the Internet with positive information regarding yourself. This can be done in several manners, including positioning yourself as an expert in areas of employment that you are seeking.
If you are looking for work as a social media consultant, it is always good to demonstrate your knowledge of the field through tweets, shares, blog posts and more. By doing so, you paint yourself as knowledgeable of the field and others viewing such activity online will form a positive first impression of you.
Lastly, don’t automatically assume that you are out of the running for a job if something negative is floating around the cyber world about you. In the event you are confronted with the issue during a phone or in-person interview with a potential employer, do your best to explain away the situation so that there is little or no damage done to your reputation.
Remember, just about everyone has some form of Internet presence about them in today’s information age.
Do your best to make it your choice as to which pieces of information best represent you before you say yes to an interview.
Dave Thomas writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.