When you’re applying for a job, putting together your CV and cover letter is only half of the story. If you’re busy taking care of your applications and thinking of answers to questions, you might end up neglecting some of the other important aspects of the job seeking process.
This is especially true if you’ve been studying at university for the past three or four years, as you’re likely to have grown your digital footprint online, potentially without intending to.
You can do all of the hard work on your CV and cover letter, and you can take time preparing for your interviews, but it can be a pointless exercise if you let your digital footprint get in the way of you and your dream job.
To avoid this happening, use the tips I have listed below to understand what potential employers see when they search for you online; this is something that many businesses will now do before they hire someone.
The very first thing you’ll want to do is to open your web browser, go to a widely used search engine like Google, and then type in your name. You’ll likely be presented with a list of website results, as well as any images that the search engine has linked with your name; there may be some of you, as well as other people who share your name.
Go through the website results first (at least the first five pages) and see what’s included. Is it links to your social media profiles? Did you write a funny or embarrassing comment on a story you read that’s managed to make its way into the search results? Maybe there’s even a video of you on YouTube.
Make a note of everything you find both in the website links and image results, whether good, bad or neutral. This will help you to discover how much work you need to do in order to present a more positive version of yourself to potential employers.
Change your privacy settings
If you’re finding that many of your results are coming through from social media profiles, it’s probably best that you spend a bit of time adjusting your privacy settings.
You may not be able to hide some things that have already been indexed by search engines, but it can help to filter out your future content. Although it might be easier to avoid adding any photos that show you at anything less than your best for the time being!
Tidy up your social media profiles
Whilst you’re on your various social media profiles, give them a good tidy up. If you tend to share lots of photos, memes and videos of the wild things you get up to at the weekend, it might be time to keep these on your phone rather than uploading them online.
Make sure you’re consistent across each of your profiles, and that the image that you use is friendly but professional. You might also want to delete some things you’ve previously shared if you think that a potential employer may deem them inappropriate.
Create additional branded assets
A bonus tip is to create more professional social media branded assets. Get your LinkedIn profile up to scratch, and take advantage of websites like SlideShare to show off your presentations. There’s also nothing wrong with engaging in some well-chosen Twitter chats to show you’re keen to get involved in the industry you’re applying for jobs in. And remember, securing your first professional role is not the end of the road. Make sure you always keep tabs on your online brand. This will help with building colleague and client relationships, as well as assisting your future career prospects.
Bianca Miller is a brand ambassador for the .uk domain names, and managing director and founder of The Be Group and Bianca Miller London. Passionate about helping others improve their personal brand, she frequently shares her expertise with students at events and forums around the country. For students wanting to boost their online brand with their own website, Bianca recommends visiting Eco Hosting; packages will be on offer to those who would like to create a .uk domain name.