This is a guest post by Susanna Cha, recent MSc International Marketing Management student, currently writing on behalf of Guardian Jobs including marketing jobs, graduate jobs, fundraising jobs and more.
Most job seekers are unaware that recruiters will try to find out everything about you. With the creation of web 2.0, this has become almost a routine for recruiters, prior to deciding whether they will present you as a candidate to their client, i.e. your potential employer. Because of this new development, it is of paramount importance that you manage your online brand. There are a couple of issues that you need to be aware of and if you haven’t done these yet, it is time to start implementing it.
What do recruiters see?
The first step is to assess your personal online brand by entering your name into the most used search engine, Google. The first couple of pages or sites that you may find (if you are using your real name for these social media sites) are your Facebook account, LinkedIn and Twitter because of the high authority these sites carry within them. However, if you have actively participated in forums and blog commenting, then these might show up as well.
You need to decide upon what you want recruiters to see and what you don’t want them to see. For example, if you have posted a comment in a forum that is not necessarily very professional and not relevant for the type of industry you’d like to work in, then it is probably best to delete it. If you, for some reason, don’t have your log in details anymore and cannot gain access to the forum anymore, then don’t be afraid of e-mailing the webmaster and ask if he can delete the post or thread on your behalf. Continue doing this until you are satisfied with the your search engine results.
Decide on visibility
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to change visibility settings. Very often, you may think that your Facebook pictures are hidden from the public, but your status updates are still visible. Take time to read through the settings and ensure that personal and irrelevant content that you created are hidden from the public.
This is the same for your LinkedIn profile. You can decide whether you’d like to show your account picture or not, and this is also the case for any work experience that you find irrelevant for the positions you are currently applying for. Personally, I believe that it works in your favour not to display your LinkedIn profile to the public but only to your connections. And, I would suggest you to hide your Facebook profile, if you use this for personal reasons only, from the public because recruiters will form an opinion about you based upon your status updates.
Social media sites are there as well to promote yourself. This is obviously the case for LinkedIn but also think about your Twitter account. For example, if you’re unique selling point is being bilingual then make sure you incorporate this into the profile description, e.g. “John Dickson | Recent Graduate in International Business | Tweets in Swedish and English“.
I hope that these tips have made you more aware of the importance of your online brand and good luck with your job hunt!