Anything you say can and will be used against you.
Are those Miranda Rights? Well yes, but it also applies to your job search. The Internet is a wonderful tool to help you in your job search, but it can also be your biggest enemy. You may think things you post on FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, and all those other social media sites are private but you would be very wrong. You would also be wrong if you don’t think people that are hiring don’t do a search on your Internet profiles. I have several friends that are executives in major corporations and they assure me that they do indeed search on every employee they intend to hire. OMG!
Some people who are in the job market are aware of this and have started being more “well behaved” on their social media pages. Don’t forget – the Internet has a history! Things you posted years ago can still be out there waiting to pop up next to your resume. But don’t panic – there are a few things you can do to help improve your online image.
- Google yourself. Don’t stop with just your name, do a search on any information that is in your resume. Search your phone number, email address or even your home address. Remember Google street view can even show them where you live. Maybe you will want to leave your address off your resume and just post your phone number and email.
- If the Google search you just did brought up any skeletons in your computer you may have some work to do. See if you can delete offending accounts or remove inappropriate pictures. You may have to make some calls – perhaps even to Google to get some really damaging stuff removed. In most cases though just deleting the accounts will be sufficient.
- Read through your wall in FaceBook or your Twitter posts and other social media sites. Delete inappropriate items keeping in mind that a very religious or political comment can sometimes have adverse affects on your job search.
- Set up a separate email account with a name that is not easily associated with your own name for adult sites or other sites you would rather your employer not find associated with you.
- Or set up an email account that you will only use on your resume – preferably one that has your whole name in it like email@example.com
- After you have cleaned up your act as much as you can – Google yourself again and see if it worked. Keep in mind that it may take days for the search results to update properly.
Now you have done all you can to clear up your dark history – how about making your future brighter?
- Start being more positive in your online posts.
- Join some good job related social media sites like Linked In and see if you can get some former employers or co-workers to recommend you. If you get contacted by a recruiter you can mention your LinkedIn account and they will be able to get a better picture of who you are. This has helped me in the recent past. Add the recruiter as a friend – that way they will know the status of your job search.
- Use FaceBook, Twitter and other similar sites to mention you are seeking employment and what type of work you are interested in – but don’t overdo it. Your friends and family will be more than willing to help as long as you don’t keep hammering them with requests. Every once in a while a reminder is OK.
The Internet can be both a blessing and a curse in your job search. A little effort on your part will help you look much better on the computer screen of your next HR director. And now if you will excuse me, I think perhaps I should Google myself.