According to Forbes magazine, the majority of employers now Google potential employees and view their social media profiles to screen applicants. Whether you are actively or passively job searching, you need to know what employers will see when they search for you.
Here are some tips for finding out if you have any digital dirt that would disqualify you from a new position:
1) Search Google for your name to see what comes up. Even if you have not put any information on the Internet about yourself, it’s still possible that there is information about you on the Web. For one thing, your employer may have listed information about you as an employee. Don’t take anything for granted. Find out what Google says about you.
2) Check Zoominfo to see if you are listed there and if you the information is accurate. Some employers check Zoominfo for information about candidates. You can take charge of your profile if you are listed on this site by claiming your name. If you are not on this site, you may want to create a profile of your own to make a positive impression on anyone searching for your name.
3) View your social media profiles with an objective eye. If you didn’t know you, would you hire yourself based on what you see? With an average of more than four job seekers competing for every job, employers are looking for ways to winnow down the field. Don’t give them a reason to weed you out. Examine your social media profiles for anything that could be perceived as negative.
4) Look for what others have posted about you. If you are inclined to pat yourself on the back because you know that you haven’t posted anything negative, don’t be too smug. There is always the possibility that someone else has posted something negative about you. It could be an unflattering photo where you are tagged, or it could even be that one of your friends on Facebook posted a comment laced with profanity. Some employers will check to see what your friends have posted and make a determination about you accordingly.
5) Review your comments online on sites such as Amazon.com and news sites. You might not give it much thought, but whenever you make a comment on one of these sites, you generally have to log in through Facebook. That means whatever you say can be traced back to you. Check to see if you have made any comments that could be perceived as derogatory.
What to do if you can’t delete the digital dirt:
Drown it. Most people do not go back further than the second or third page of results on Google. If you have digital dirt that you don’t want everyone to know about, add positive information to the Internet so that the positive results come up first. By creating social media profiles on many different sites and perhaps starting a blog and/or website, you can point employers to what you want them to know about you.
Curate your Google results and post them publicly. Vizibility gives its customers the ability to choose Google results that they want employers to see. Once you sign up, you can select search results based on your name and then you will receive a button as well as a QR code that you can add to your LinkedIn profile, blog, and/or website. Curating your Google results is also useful because your results can easily be mixed in with other people who share your name. Your curated results will only apply to you.
Make your social media profiles sparkle. All of your social media profiles should represent you well, but you should pay special attention to LinkedIn since it is the site that most recruiters use to source executive and professional candidates. LinkedIn has a number of applications that can give you an edge as a job seeker. Here are a few that are general enough to apply to most job hunters. There is SlideShare where you can upload PowerPoint presentations as well as video to give employers a visual picture of what you have done. With Amazon.com you can share the books that you have read or are reading that show that you are staying current with your field. Box.net allows you to upload audio, PDF, and Word files. By incorporating multimedia into your profile, you will set yourself apart from similarly qualified job applicants and impress employers.
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