Tips for young professionals: Maintaining a strong online reputation

Many recruiters now consider personal data posted online when evaluating a candidate for a job. In fact, according to CareerBuilder, 70% of employers will inspect an applicant’s social media profiles before hiring them. 

As information you share on the internet becomes increasingly accessible to others, what steps are you taking to manage your online brand? Here are some tips for keeping your online reputation positive, professional and effective as you apply for jobs in 2020 and beyond.

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Keep your social media pages private and proper

If you don’t allow public access to your accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you won’t have to worry about potential employers finding content that could compromise your professional image. Make sure your pages are set to “private” (with the exception of LinkedIn) so that only you and your close friends and family can view personal pictures, posts, etc.

Social media privacy is especially important because content can be interpreted in different ways depending on the viewer. Let’s say you hold specific political or religious beliefs, but the recruiter finds those ideals to be problematic. If they see pictures of you at a rally for a presidential candidate or an event hosted by your church, you could be discriminated against and miss out on the opportunity, for reasons that have nothing to do with the actual job.

The best way to avoid letting social media hurt your personal brand is by refraining from posting questionable content in the first place. While issues with some posts can be subjective (like the example mentioned above), there are obvious things you should stay away from. Never post publicly viewable pictures on Facebook of you drinking, doing drugs, breaking the law, etc. Also, don’t post hateful or profane statements on Twitter. Blatantly negative content like this can seriously hurt your chances of getting hired.           

Post about your accomplishments

Posting positive content, on the other hand, is highly encouraged. Take pride in your accomplishments and the activities you participate in outside of your professional life.

If your intramural soccer team wins the championship, post a picture of your team with the trophy. When you do volunteer work and donate to charities, let it be known via social media. Or, if you’re a musician who records songs and plays local gigs with a band, share your music and performances with your online community. Content like this will show recruiters that you’re a well-rounded person who is passionate and gets along with others.    

Differentiate yourself from others with the same name

Those who have common names will need to get creative in order to stand out. If your name is “Mike Smith,” the recruiter might not be able to find you by simply typing your name into Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And most people aren’t willing to click through hundreds of profiles to locate yours. This can hurt you in the screening process, especially if you have great shared content that’ll boost your reputation.

In order to differentiate yourself from the other “Mike Smiths” on the internet, consider including your middle name or initial on all of your accounts. You could also add your profession and/or location at the end of your name. For example, you could change your Twitter handle to “Mike Smith the Accountant” or “Mike Smith from Chicago.”    

Google yourself

Have you ever typed your name into Google? If so, what are the search results? If not, give it a try and see what comes up.

It’s important that your professional profiles are listed higher on the page than your social ones. In other words, you’ll want your LinkedIn page to show up before your Instagram. This will score you points with the recruiter since it shows that your online presence is professionally focused.

Interested in learning more about how to maintain a strong reputation online? Visit us at Total Defense today!