By Lauren @BubbleJobs
So, it’s a new year, and a lot of you will probably be looking for a new job. You’ve spruced up your CV, started looking for jobs and maybe even already applied for some.
But there’s one really vital thing that you might have forgotten – cleaning up your digital footprint. This might not come as a surprise to some, but it’s astonishing how many people wouldn’t think to make sure that there’s nothing incriminating about them online. I’m talking drunken Facebook photos, blog posts calling your old boss every name under the sun or foul-mouthed tweets.
These are all things that a prospective employer will look for when sussing you out online, so here are some tips on how to make sure your online reputation is blemish-free.
1) Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings
If someone wants to look for you online, where is one of the first places they’d go? Facebook, of course!
Now, you might think that you’ve already got your profile pretty secure and private, but you’d be wrong. With Facebook’s ever-changing privacy settings, it’s difficult to know whether your activity really is friends-only or if any Tom, Dick or Harry can see what you’re getting up to.
Facebook posts are set to public as a default, so make sure to check that your privacy settings are set to friends only for future posts in the “Who can see my stuff?” section.
Got some recruiters as friends on Facebook? Don’t worry! You can create custom lists to filter who sees what and when to avoid anything incriminating getting in front of the wrong eyeballs.
But it’s not just future posts you should be worried about. In the privacy settings, you can choose who can see photos, activity, likes etc from the past, so make sure you have the correct settings on each.
The best way of finding out how people are going to perceive you online is to do exactly what they would do – Google yourself.
You could never know every single thing that has been published about you, whether that be your own content, or things that friends and/or colleagues have posted online. Chances are, not all of that content will be 100% appropriate either.
To make sure there is no unwanted information about yourself online, search for your name using multiple search engines on both web results and image results – remember, a picture speaks a thousand words.
If you do happen to come across something you really don’t want online, ask the person to take it down immediately. But, if it is on a site owned by someone you don’t know, make sure you contact the site owner or administrator requesting removal of the information.
3) Proofread Your Personal Blog
If you’re serious about a career in digital, it should go without saying that you own, or contribute to, a professional industry blog on a regular basis. This content is very rarely incriminating, and you can be safe in the knowledge that it won’t paint you in a bad light.
But what about your personal blog? Do you submit posts that read like a diary, venting your anger and releasing your emotions? Well, it’s time to start editing!
Get rid of foul language, childish rants or anything that might put someone off hiring you.
Even private blogs show up in search results, so make sure there’s nothing you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see on there.
4) Get Rid Of Old Social Media Accounts
Remember the days of MySpace and Bebo? The angst-ridden posts and sepia high-angle selfies? It’s a great memory, but not one you want a future employer to see.
Especially if you’re applying for a job in digital, leaving these awkward and embarrassing dormant profiles live for the world to see won’t make you look very professional.
Delete these profiles if you don’t use them anymore. They were great in high school, but not ideal for your career.
5) Think Before You Post
Probably the most important and obvious tip of them all is to think before you post. You might be really angry at a colleague, or really upset about a fight between you and your partner, but that doesn’t mean that the whole world, especially recruiters, need to hear about it.
If you do want to post an emotional status or tweet, think about what opinion would be formed about you purely based on that single post, and then consider if that’s the sort of opinion you want people to have of your professional self.
The best thing to remember here is: if you’re not sure, don’t post it.
So there we have it, five tips to help you cleanse your digital footprint and make sure you appear as professional as possible online.
What do you think? Have I missed any tips or do you disagree with any? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @BubbleJobs!