5 Ways to Clean and Manage Your Online Brand While Job Searching

Recruiters research and learn about candidates much differently today than 10 years ago.  Instead of waiting for candidates to come into the office for an interview, Recruiters now go online and do a Google search for the person’s name.  Other recruiters go out and search for their profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn or find job seeker’s accounts on Twitter.  They want to see you as a brand and find out how you may fit in or how you may present yourself if you are hired and become a part of their company.  What many job seekers today don’t think about when they are on these sites is that their personal life now plays a role in whether or not they get a job.

If a recruiter finds videos of you using illicit substances or videos of you drinking and partying, you may create the impression that you are not serious about life or, even worse, about work.  These pictures and videos in the job world are known as your personal online brand.  These images become the first impression that a Recruiter or Hiring Manager gets of you.

If a Recruiter follows you on Twitter and sees you swearing all the time, you could destroy your potential for becoming a great candidate.  They may worry that you might Tweet that you got a job with XYZ company and the company’s name will now be combined with all of the swears and negative Tweets you’ve sent.  That could be damaging to the company and their brand.   So what can you do to help build a better personal online brand while searching for a job?  Here are 5 things you can do to help build yourself a more positive personal online brand so that Recruiters have a better shot of seeing the good things about you and less of the bad.

1.  Make your Facebook profile private.

Edit your Facebook settings so that only you and your friends can see your profile.  Because the Recruiter is not on your buddy list they may not be able to access certain personal pieces of information.  There are still other things they can find in photos, etc… but this is a great first step to hiding personal details you may not want potential Employers and Recruiters to see.

2.  Untag yourself in Facebook photos.

If there are photos of you overindulging, even if it is innocent, untag yourself if you wouldn’t want a Recruiter to see it.  You can always retag the photos again when you get a job.  Spending 15 or 20 minutes untagging and retagging photos is more than worth it if it means you get a full time position with a company.

3.  Block certain friends and followers.

What people say on your profile may look like a direct reflection on you.  If there is a lot of swearing or rude comments being made you may turn off the Recruiter.  Send a message to the people you are blocking and explain to them that you need to remove them temporarily and why.  Then block them until you find a job.  You may want to keep them blocked permanently if you would like to further maintain your personal online brand.  Blocking certain people may help to reduce the chances that a Recruiter will find their comments and your association with them.

4.  Create a Website or blog about yourself.

When the Recruiter searches Google for your name, you want them to find something good about yourself.  Buying a url like yourname.com or myname.me is very inexpensive and a great way to get a good result to show up for your name.  You can also have someone set it up for under $50 if you aren’t tech savvy or don’t want to read the instructions on installing website pages.  Then if you write enough about yourself and mention your name a few times you may eventually start to show up in Search Engines when people search for your name.   When your new site shows up, you now have a better chance at Recruiters finding a site all about you with things that you want them to know.  You can also set up free blogs on sites like WordPress.com.

5.  Write to sites that have negative things about you on them.

If you search for your name and find negative things about you showing up, go to those Websites and look for a “contact us” page.  Write or call that Webmaster and talk to them about taking down the negative articles or comments.  They may ask for money and other times they’ll just do it.  Every once in a while you will get someone who just wants to be difficult and will refuse to take down or alter anything.  In that situation, you could ask them if they would mind if you told your side of the story as well on the page.  You don’t want negative things to show up when a Recruiter searches for your name so it is important to try and get those websites to take down the negative comments or at least tell your side and make it a positive.

One of your job seeking goals should be to help Recruiters find the best possible image of your personal online brand when they search for your name.  Pictures of you hungover or in embarrassing situations, or even just stating your political views can create a bad first impression.  Clean your online brand and make it so that it only shows positive things about you and nothing that Recruiters may find offensive.  Managing your personal online brand is an important thing to do while you are searching for a job.

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