How often do you google yourself? Do you google yourself? You probably know that googling is the act of using the online search engine Google.com to look up information, so googling yourself is the act of looking up information about yourself. Googling yourself is a great way to manage your online reputation. People can find out so much information about a person by simply googling your name or even your email. They may find anything from your facebook profile to any other profiles you may have on other websites. Googling your name may also come up with any mentions you’ve had in a newspaper or if your friends have mentioned you in their social media. These things are important to know about for several reasons and the one I would like to outline today is the effect that your online presence can have on what prospective and current employers may find. According to the Huffington post, “A survey commissioned by the online employment website CareerBuilder has found that 37 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job applicants.” Especially when applying for jobs it’s important to know what information you have visible to potential employers. A company may have anywhere from a handful of applicants to 100 applicants; if your profile picture on facebook is a picture of you drinking, or your top comment is “I **** hate my job,” then you’ve just made yourself immediately dismissible by that employer.
Social media sites like facebook, twitter or personal blogs are a wealth of information distributed by ourselves about ourselves. There are some good things about these sites – they are a great way to show your interests and to give people a better view of what kind of person you are. However sometimes this information can be negative depending on what kind of content filters onto your pages. If you make your profile picture a professional headshot that is obviously going to look better to an employer than a photo of you smoking and drinking. If you frequently post about how you hate your job a potential employer, or currently employer, that would not reflect well on your work ethic. I used to work as a waitress at an Italian chain restaurant and one of my co-workers called out sick; the mistake that this co-worker made was that she posted on her facebook that she was going out with friends. Even though a supervisor did not have access to her facebook another colleague did and disclosed this information to our employer which led to a more serious discussion later and said employee lost a promotion opportunity.
When posting to social media it’s important to keep the long-term effects in mind as well as the immediate effects. Everything that is posted online is permanent, even if you “delete it.” Often the more embarrassing the photo or post the more likely it is to be saved or screen captured to be saved by someone who viewed it. Even if that’s an unlikely scenario the information you post is not necessarily deleted when you click the delete button. Information is often copied and kept by search engines so there is that chance that it is still somewhere out there. But all hope is not lost! For the most part you can mitigate damage done in the past and more importantly you can begin to manage your social media image more carefully now and in the future. Start by searching yourself and then deleting any unwanted content and unwanted accounts. Go through any images that you or your friends have tagged you in and untag any undesirable photos and ask friends to remove them. The information may still be out there, but this is about as far as an average user can go for now. For the future make sure to monitor your accounts more carefully; you can make your facebook account private but that can still be hazardous as you can see with my co-worker who had another co-worker show her account to a supervisor. Which brings me to this – be careful who you’re messaging, and remember it’s best to not announce on social media that you hate your boss or that you’re playing hooky. Just don’t say it at all because you don’t know how that information can get back around. It’s likely that we’ve all at some point had a boss that we didn’t like and that we’ve at some point played hooky at work, but if you post it online it’s permanent and in text where it can be found. Just don’t do it. So to wrap it all up, be careful about the things that you post online because it doesn’t go away and it can cost you a lot more than it’s worth. Make separate accounts if you need to, one for personal and one for professional. But make sure the professional accounts have content on them, a prospective employer still wants to get some kind of idea about you, it might like odd if you don’t have a social presence.
Step 1: Google yourself.
Step 2: Post smart.
Step 3: Get a job/keep a job.
Step 4: Profit.