Your online presence is both a liability and an opportunity. When managed correctly, it is a powerful tool for establishing and evolving your personal brand to help cultivate professional contacts. When managed incorrectly, it can be embarrassing, limit your job prospects, or even lead to your termination.
If you are looking for a job, looking for a promotion, or simply looking to increase your stature within your field, you need to spend time cultivating your online presence. This includes everything from your social media profiles, to your personal blog, to the pictures that come up in a Google image search. Use these tips to put your best face forward.
You never really know what’s out there with your name on it until you Google yourself. Regardless of whether the results are surprisingly upbeat, or shockingly negative, you get the same picture of yourself that employers will see.
Purchase Your Domain Name
Unless you have an extremely common name, it’s likely that YourName.com is still available, and probably for less than $20 a year. Once you own the name, you can use it as a personal hub that tells potential employers and colleagues everything they need to know about you. And since it carries your name, it will show up early in search results any time your name is the search term.
Join Social Networks
Social networks are free and easy tools for shaping your online presence. LinkedIn is mandatory, and you probably already have a Facebook profile. Think about joining Google+, Pintrest, YouTube, and Tumblr as well. Most of these sites also give you the ability to link your profile on one to your profile on another, further strengthening your online presence. Even if you only update your profiles occasionally, they give you a powerful ability to manage your reputation that is largely under your control.
Use Privacy Settings
Never join a social network without first establishing privacy settings dictating who can access your content and how. However, it’s even more important to remember that privacy settings are always changing, and none of them is ironclad. The best policy is to keep anything that could potentially be embarrassing offline rather than trying to hide it.
Rely on a Service
A cottage industry has developed around online reputation management. If your professional reputation has been blemished and there is no easy way of working around it, these services will use complicated strategies to bury it. It doesn’t go away, but it’s a lot harder to find. The cost of these services varies widely, but for some job seekers, they may be a necessity.
The best time to take control of your online presence was yesterday. At the very least, you need to be aware of what recruiters are finding when they search for you online – because they are definitely searching for you online. If you need help navigating the challenges of a contemporary job search, partner with the recruiting experts at Selectek.