When you are looking for a job, it is best to be sure that your online presence is cleaned up. This is a great time to do it; New Year, new online profile. It is very common for prospective employers to do a quick search online for people that they interview. You can put the best face on in your interview and have all the right stuff on your resume and cover letter, but to see the “real” you, they will want to see what type of activity you participate in online. This means they will look at Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc.… This means that companies that you are trying to get a job with will see all of your posts that were meant to be funny. They will also see your Twitter wars and any other arguments that you engaged in. Yes, it is part of your personal life and you have every right to post your feelings and beliefs, but when they are public, people will see them and this will help forge their impression of you. So it is best to go back and take a look at what you have posted and try to clean it up before you start sending out resumes.
First thing you should do is try to make a list of where you think you left a trail. Employers are looking at your presence on Google, Social Networks, Photo and video sites and Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. The best place to start is to Google yourself. When you do this, put in your name and where you grew up and include your middle name. You should also Google your email address as they will have access to this most likely. Do this not only on Google, but Yahoo, Bing and any other search engine that you can think of.
Now the sweep begins. Go through all of your sites that come up (and the ones that you have that did not come up). Get rid of any inappropriate posts, tweets, pictures and videos that you see. Yes, this means the pictures of you doing a funnel at the frat party back when you are in college. We know it was meant to be funny and to share with friends, but you are an adult in the real world now and this may be a deciding factor between you getting a job or getting put in the rejected column. You many come across pictures and video of you on others sites. Simply explain that you are applying for jobs and would like them to remove your pictures or at least take your nametag off of the post. Most people will not give you push back on this.
It is also a good idea to keep your email addresses separate. You should set up an email account for professional business and one for personal purposes. Your email address usually links you to many sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others, so if you give this address to an employer; it makes it easier for them to find you online. The more difficult you make it to find those pieces of your life online, the quicker they will end their search. Remember, they are doing this mostly on the cuff and will not want to dedicate hours to search for you online.
These are just a few of the many ways to start your online clean up. The best thing is to try to think of all that you can and search and clean it up. It may take some time, but will be worth it if you get the job. If you don’t get the job, it is already done for your next interview, so you will be ahead of the game. Just remember, what you find funny today and post online, may be the deciding factor for a job in the future. Always think ahead.