Job hunting has evolved as employers have developed new ways of using the internet, social media, and personal data to consider job candidates.
It is no longer enough to have a professional resume and updated LinkedIn profile. While those are still necessary components of being a professional job seeker, you must also take precautions to protect and enhance your online presence.
Here are some tips for optimizing your online presence:
Realize That You Are A Brand
Everyone with an online presence has a personal brand--whether they want one or not. Your online activity forms a digital story about who you are, what you value, and gives clues to your personality and temperament.
You must be proactive in controlling your online presence in order to create a valuable personal brand.
According to a Microsoft survey, 84% of U.S. recruiters think it’s proper to consider personal data posted online when evaluating a candidate and to do online research using search engines and social networking sites.
In fact, recent data suggests that as many as 10% of job candidates are rejected because of content on their social media profiles. Remember, if your profile is public, everything you post (even the music you listen to) is visible to potential employers.
Restrict Your Privacy
Facebook and other social profiles have privacy settings that can be used to change how posts are shared (even retroactively).
Take the time to create a "friends" group that excludes professional contacts and former co-workers. Then, control what posts each group can see.
Click at the top right of Facebook and select Settings. In the left column, click Privacy. Look for the setting Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or Public? You can also click Limit Past Posts on the far right.
Other popular social networks have similar privacy settings--so make sure you discover what sharing options are available. If you can't limit the visibility of individual posts--you may want to make your social profiles "private" while you are actively seeking employment.
By limiting what work contacts and acquaintances can see vs. close friends, you have more control over your social presence.
Employers are going to be searching for you online, so it's best practice to get a sneak peek at what they might see. Open an incognito tab in your web browser and search your name.
Do the same thing with just an image search as well.
You can also set up a "Google Alert" for your name to see when others post information about you.
Don't forget to keep track of social posts on other people's profiles that you have been tagged in.
If all of this seems like a lot to keep track of, remember that you are the only person who is going to monitor how you appear online--so take the time to control what you can.
Know That Looking For A Job Makes You A Target
Unfortunately, hackers know that job seekers may be vulnerable to phishing attacks and other attempts to breach their personal data.
If you are filling out online job applications, make sure the job listing is from a legitimate company. Never input personal information like social security numbers into forms that are not secure.
Avoid clicking links in emails from potential employers if the domain and other details of the email (like the body content and sender) seem suspicious. It is not uncommon for cyber criminals to pose as hiring managers in order to steal a person's data.
Being Internet Savvy Equals Being More Hire-able
No matter what types of positions you are applying for, presenting a professional online presence will help you to stand out from other applicants. It demonstrates cyber-savvy and attention to detail.
Don't disqualify yourself from a good job by oversharing on Twitter or not making private that embarrassing photo on Facebook from your birthday two years ago.
Treat your internet presence as an extension of your job application and interview because many times, it actually is.
Want these and other tips in a handy PDF? Get it from our partners at Stop.Think.Connect.
Have a safe Cybersecurity Month everyone!