You already know that potential employers will be Googling you as soon as they get your job application. But what will they find when they search for your name? A slew of professional links, one more impressive than the next? Or will they find something negative about you, or at the very least, something that won’t shine the spotlight on your professional abilities?
Job hunters are only now starting to pay attention to online reputation management, and for good reason: even if you’ve got a stellar resume, just one or two negative things popping up about you online can be enough to take you out of the running for a job you’re otherwise qualified for. In fact, in a recent study, 69% of recruiters said they’d turned down a job candidate because of what they found online. Here are ten ways you can make sure your online reputation shines when HR managers are searching for you.
- If you don’t pay attention to what your online reputation is, how can you expect to improve it? Google yourself every month or so, and see what links appear. Make note of any that you’d rather not see. Consider using a reputation monitoring tool such as Reputation.com.
Keep Social Sites Fresh.
- The more updates you post on social networks, the quicker you bury older updates you’d rather not let potential employers see. Make sure what you post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + is work-appropriate.
Inject Professional Content.
- Do you use your social channels to talk about your industry? If you don’t, you should, especially if you’re looking for a job. Share links to blog posts about your field, add your own insight and connect with people who work in your industry. Employers take note.
Create a Blog.
- Adding on to #3: content is a great way to show what you know, as well as control what appears when someone searches for your name. Use keywords that pertain to your industry to increase visits to your blog.
- Because YouTube ranks so highly on search engines, by creating a video on YouTube, that link will automatically move up toward the top, hopefully replacing some of the less appealing content found when searching you.
Increase Your Klout.
- Klout.com is a site that ranks you based on how influential you are on the web. The more you use social media, the higher your ranking. While HR managers aren’t yet using Klout to study job candidates, it’s a very real possibility that one day they will, so keep an eye on yours.
Forge New Paths.
- Everyone’s all about Facebook and LinkedIn, but what about Pinterest or Google +? If you can find innovative ways to display your talents through up-and-coming social sites, you’ll be ahead of the pack.
Avoid Confrontation Online.
- If you have the habit of leaving argumentative comments on blogs, stop it. While you’re certainly entitled to your own opinion, realize that blasting out an angry comment on someone’s blog will live online...in perpetuity. It will be there long after you’ve forgotten what you were ranting about, and a hiring manager might think less of you if she stumbles across your comment.
Watch What Pictures You Post
- Any photo you post to Facebook can appear in a Google search. It’s hard to keep up with all the privacy and user agreement changes. What’s private one day could go public the next. Avoid potential embarrassment by not posting any photos you wouldn’t want a potential employer to view.