If you are an upcoming graduate this year, you are about to face some big decisions in your life. One of those being, choosing a job in your desired career. While many students have dream jobs in mind, they can be competitive when put up against other candidates with similar resumes and experience. You deserve the job that you want, and it would be devastating to know that a mistake you made on social media could be the one thing that prevents you from getting hired for that position.
Recent statistics have shown that 54% of employers found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate. That is a high statistic! Because of this, it’s important to educate yourself on the steps you can take to clean up your online presence and avoid any future digital dirt from becoming an issue.
Improving Your Digital Presence
Because the world relies so heavily on technology nowadays, it can be difficult to know exactly what information exists on the Internet about you. The first and most important step to absorbing this information is to conduct a search of yourself on various search engines. Search your name in a variety of different ways. Include your middle, last name, any relevant titles or location. Check out the profiles, articles, and images that appear for your result. This will provide you with a complete profile of how employers may potentially be viewing you online.
Because it’s important to make a good first impression, make sure that nothing sticks out right away that would steer an employer away. If there is anything alarming, delete it from your accounts and anywhere else where it may have been shared. If it was posted by another user or site, contact the site’s administrator to ask it to be removed.
It’s also helpful to go through your personal accounts and read through old posts, tweets, and images. The general rule of thumb is: if your grandmother would be embarrassed by it, an employer likely would be turned off by it as well. Look back a few months and make sure that there is nothing on there that sticks out.
A great way to improve upon your existing profiles is to build up enticing new content. Believe it or not, employers actually don’t like to see that you’re inactive on your accounts. The main reason they like to look through your accounts is to get a sense of who you are as a person, beyond just your resume. Following industry leaders in your desired field as well as companies you wish to work for can show your passion for the position you’re applying for.
If social media isn’t your favorite thing, that’s okay. You could turn to other options such as building your own website, blog, or online portfolio. Having an online portfolio of your work over the years is a great way for an employer to see a glimpse into the type of work you could produce for them.
Avoiding Future Issues
There are many steps that you can take to create a positive digital profile for yourself from the beginning. The most important advice being to always think twice before posting anything! Even something that you may view as harmless could be off-putting to someone else. For example, if your college friends tend to tag you in photos where you are drinking at a party or wearing a shirt with offensive language on it, ask them to refrain from doing so or completely avoid photos that are being taken in these scenarios.
You can also take steps to keep your online activities private at all times. If you wish to avoid others from viewing your activities when online, consider utilizing a VPN. This can change your IP address and encrypt your personal information from outsider viewers. You should also ensure that privacy settings are not being installed without your permission. This can cause sites to track your information decreasing your overall privacy.
You can manage your privacy settings relatively easily by going into the settings on each profile and checking to see who has access to your accounts and what information is being shared publicly vs. privately. It’s also important that you create strong passwords for all of your accounts to make sure no one can easily access them. Choose passwords that are both strong and unique in nature.