Employers are routinely reviewing a candidate’s online presence during the hiring process. Creating and maintaining a positive online image can mean the difference between landing a job and not. Here are some strategies for building a strong online image.
- Search yourself. Type your name in various search engines and analyze the results. Knowing what you have said or is said about you online can help prepare you for the interview process. If you don’t like what you see, contact the webmaster for each site and ask to have your information removed, if possible. Once removed, the associated content will drop from search engines. Note that it takes about a month for updated content to be removed from popular search engines.
- Keep things private. Understand the privacy policies of the sites where you post information. Many social media sites share information with third parties. What you think is private may not be, regardless of how carefully you protect your online image. As a rule, be cautious about providing any information about your family or military status online. While government regulations prohibit potential employers from asking questions about family status, religious preferences, race, citizenship, age, etc., you may be providing this information online without realizing it.
- Create positive buzz. Creating an online portfolio can attract positive attention from potential employers. Use your online portfolio to highlight your work and market yourself. The internet offers several free tools to help you set up an online profile with little or no web development experience. Ask for permission to post work samples from previous or current employers. If you don’t have permission, refer to them in general terms rather than a by-name description of the project. Blogs are also a great way to discuss your professional knowledge and interests, helping you stand out from the competition.
- Let others do the talking. Ask former and current employers for recommendations within online professional networks. Chances are that potential employers have already found you on some of the most popular sites. Help them see positive chatter when they do.
- Join networking groups. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership LinkedIn Spouse Group is a great place for you to market yourself to MSEP partners and find out about available positions. You can also join groups related to your field where you can discuss leading practices with other professionals. Group comments are open to other group members and can be used as a tool to network and boost your image among your online peers. Check out the MySECO event calendar for upcoming LinkedIn discussions with MSEP partners.
If you have questions, check out the following online resources that can help you use the internet to create a positive online image.
- Your Online Image on CareerOneStop lists types of negative online content and discusses how to present a positive online image to potential employers.
- Understanding Facebook Privacy is a great resource to learn how to protect your Facebook account.
- LinkedIn Basics will walk you through setting up a LinkedIn account. Visit the LinkedIn Premium Upgrade article on MySECO to learn more about LinkedIn Premium and how you can access a free year-long upgrade.
For additional guidance on maintaining your online image, contact a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on MySECO.