As a jobseeker, it’s essential that you put yourself out there – be visible, active, engage in social networks.
Manage your online profile to give the best impression from the outset – it could be one of the first things a prospective employer finds out about you, so remove any negatives and build up the positives.
Check Social Media Sites and Search Engines
Search your name to see what comes up – if you can find information, then so can a recruiter!
Remove any problematic content from the public arena.
But be warned – what goes online stays online! Some material is difficult to remove immediately/permanently, even if you delete it or un-tag yourself!
An active social media presence suggests to prospective employers that you’re social, communicative and serious about job-hunting – so make sure you can be discovered in the right places.
The Difference Between Your Professional & Personal Profile
One of the main reasons employers use social networks to research candidates is to check if they present themselves professionally, as well as to learn more about their qualifications, skills and experience.
LinkedIn is the professional networking site, well respected and the clear frontrunner for recruitment purposes, so it’s important to set up a profile if you want to be found by headhunters and employers.
You have complete control over what is written and with whom you connect.
Update regularly with any new relevant experience or accomplishments.
Ask people you have worked with to endorse relevant skills on your profile.
You can upload your CV, and work such as portfolios, presentations or videos.
One employer explained the benefits of their strategic partnership with LinkedIn:
They can sweep careers pages and upload new vacancies, to target names and get in touch.
Recruiters’ licences allow them to access blocked profiles.
They can create a database, making notes against profiles of candidates they have previously interviewed, and sharing this information with other recruiters in their organisation.
A well-designed personal website, blog or videos can be very beneficial in certain industries, particularly journalism or the creative fields, where you want to showcase your written or design work with an online portfolio, or demonstrate your passion for a particular subject.
Contributing to other relevant blogs/online magazines is also a good way of developing your network.
Personal Social Profile
It’s highly likely that an employer will also check out Facebook and Twitter etc. to look beyond your professional persona. So just make sure they portray you in a positive light!
Make it Work to Your Advantage
Share content that demonstrates you’re a ‘well rounded‘ person, or that highlights interests and activities related to your chosen career path.
Display good communication skills.
Have a sensible email address!
Use Privacy Settings
Be vigilant about what you make public.
Prepare all publicly accessible content with a prospective employer in mind. Think about what photos/posts/tweets you would be happy for them to see, including what other people post about you! Remove or hide anything that could be regarded as unprofessional.
For example on Facebook you can ‘view as public’ on your own profile, so can see exactly how a prospective employer would see your profile if they searched for you. What they can see is dependent on what privacy settings you have in place.
You could set up a Google Alert so you get an automatic update whenever new content featuring your name appears online.
Steer clear of politically/religiously controversial or outrageous content in general.
Avoid expressing views that conflict with the policies of organisations you want to join.
Don’t bad-mouth previous employers or fellow employees!