Looking for a new job and worried about your Online Presence?
Almost everyone these days shares every detail of their lives on social media whether they are appropriate or not (and come on, isn’t it more interesting when they are not?). Social media has become so prevalent we are now bombarded by warnings not to post things you wouldn’t want your mother to see. But what about your boss?! Unemployed and think you’re safe? Think again; potential employers are scrutinizing the oh-so-public details of your life as well. More than fifty percent of employers that review social media profiles during recruiting process? Most media experts have stated that securing our public profiles will conceal the evidence of last night’s drunken love with the stranger at the bar. But will that work? It’s a good start. Is it enough? NO!
While locking down your profile and increasing your privacy settings on social media will help keep those who are not connected to you from viewing immediate posts, many of us have friends (and enemies!) who delight in sharing public embarrassments with the world. And better yet, they will tag us in those posts just to ensure there is no doubt as to whose butt is on display. Not only will restricting who views your social media page not help in that case, it also won’t help in cases where others post things about you that you may not be aware of!
So, what should you do in addition to securing personal profiles?
- Create two separate profiles on all non-business social media accounts. For sites such as Facebook or Instagram, have a page for friends and family to join while maintaining a separate page for colleagues and business contacts. This second page need not be limited to a “company page” that people can merely “Like”, such as those on FaceBook. It can and should be a “personal page” where you can connect with colleagues, industry members, and other professional contacts. Your posts on this page should be pertinent to the field you are working in or would like to work in, and should showcase the unique skills and abilities that will make you an asset to an organization. This is a great way to network and promote yourself. Be careful though! Remember your grade six teacher’s sage advice: watch your spelling and grammar. There are employers who will hold poor writing skills against you!
- For goodness sake, change your name on your personal accounts! Use your middle name in lieu of your last name or use a completely fictitious one. Or you can just use one name, like Cher or Madonna. The point is, you’ll be more difficult to find. And if you are simply changing your name on a profile you’ve had for years, you can give new friends your code name to connect, or “friend” them yourself. The other added benefit to using a pseudonym is that if anyone tags you in a photo that they happen to post, no one, outside of your mutual friends will ever find it.
- Google yourself. Perhaps you are already sharing all sorts of pictures and other content that would make your mother blush but were perhaps too intoxicated to remember. You may also successfully have a photo or blog taken down from a friend’s page but not realize it has been posted in multiple locations online. Go incognito on Chrome and search your name at least once a month. As it relates to photos, a great tool is a Google add on called TinEye. Using the information stored in the photo itself, TinEye will find and list all sites on the web that are displaying that picture. After you locate where your bared backside is greeting viewers, you can work to have those images removed.
- Finally, take a proactive approach to ensure that your social media presence is a positive one. It’s not all about hiding your private life. Use your business accounts to post comments on blogs written by your company that agree with the stances they are taking on a particular issue. If you are in the market for a new career, comment on LinkedIn posts written by those who already work for that organization. If you fancy yourself a decent writer, try your hand at posting your own blogs or creating your own articles which cover topics related to your field. All of these things will be searchable by your existing or future employer and will help create a positive impression that can carry additional weight beyond your resume or CV.
Ryan DeLuca is an Investigator with the Real Estate Council of Alberta and is a member of the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators. Dealing with serious offences such as money laundering and mortgage fraud, he is trained in and frequently uses online investigation techniques to locate individuals suspected of breaching legislation, and uncover digital evidence they may have unwittingly left online.
Ryan has written columns for Vancouver View magazine, Metro News, and hosted a weekly television spot called “The Real Estate Minute”. Follow him on LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/ryan-deluca-14286355