You matter. Online Clean-up is Important.
You and your social media profiles matter to someone out there. “They” are keeping an eye on you. No, this is not a tag line from a new thriller movie on Netflix (it may be actually, but not intentionally). This is the feedback we received from speaking with recruiters and HR pros around the world. The easy way to begin research on a potential hire is on-line search.
So let’s begin to learn how to clean up your online reputation.
That’s why Online clean up is so important. This is so important, we offer this series free online clean-up in 4 parts.
And yes, even your private accounts are out there. Maybe these accounts have fake names. Maybe they do not have your image in the thumbnail. But they are associated with any email account you used to establish them, and by extension, those email accounts and secret social media accounts associate with each other. Which means an easy on-line look into you will reveal all the social media accounts you may have used. (Don’t agree? Check out Spokeo, ZabaSearch, Pipl).
You may not like the sound of this, but it’s true. Fair or not, you are being Googled then judged by the content you or others have posted on-line.
So, let’s start focusing on the new, “Career First You” with CareerNet’s version of an on-line review.
A Realistic Solution to Online Clean-up
Now, we are not saying delete your social media accounts. But for a start, we recommend you limit them to the accounts that tell the real you to the world. There are a number of social media profile search apps out there (we linked to a few above). We will do a quick review on them in a follow up article. Until then we suggest starting with a simple Google search, entering your email addresses, and looking at the results. This will give you ideas on where to start first.
With that, here are a few steps to improve the social media you. We’d suggest this is a mandatory step in redefining yourself as a career motivated and focused person. The kind of person companies are looking to hire.
Plus, when you are done a positive feeling of control of your personal brand will be your reward. It is worth the time.
6 Steps to a Better On-line You.
- Define yourself. Who are you, really? It’s amazing what you will find out about yourself from reading your old posts and viewing your old pictures. By reading this article, you have a chance to take stock of who and what the internet sees about you. Here, a few important MUST do’s.
Look for, keep and enhance any of the following:
- Pictures and statements that show you as a responsible person of integrity.
- Your professional side, images in work groups and of you at work. Positive comments about work and your work colleagues.
- Group pictures with your smiling face.
- Articles and images of you showing interests in places that are NOT bars, restaurants, clubs, and back yard red cup parties.
- Quotes you like and quotes of your own.
Remember your social media profile is your brand to the world!
Some things to delete from social media:[heading]
- Inappropriate photographs, videos, or posts – you know them when you see them.
- Drinking, smoking, illicit drugs photos or comments about them.
- Negative or provocative comments related to race, religion, gender. If you are unsure, delete it!
- Content that complains about a previous employer or colleague – Public sniping and snarking is not good. Rise above it!
- Quotes you may have posted on bad days, mean, dark angry quotes – about anything from politics, friends or even food delivery.
- Selfies.We all have a ton of them. Let’s cut that number down to 10. Enough said on this subject.
- Tags.Tagged by someone else doing something you are not proud of? Address the issue immediately. If you can delete it, do so. If you can’t ask the person who posted the picture to remove it, or in the least to untag you. Then thank them when they have done so with a friendly post! And, while you are at it, prohibit tagging in your privacy settings. It’s your online life. Do not let others run it for you.
4.Take a look at your “About You” Pages. People seeking to hire you want your “About Pages” to reflect the person they have interviewed or want to interview. Those movies and songs you like?; let’s keep them at a Rated PG level if possible. Plus, that old About section could likely use some updating. You are not the same person who opened the account 3 – 10 years ago.
- Twitter.It is worth spending a Sunday cleaning out those tweets in hindsight you should not have posted. When you read them, you will know which ones to remove. If Twitter is your anger outlet – STOP! Instead consider starting a blog of your own – Invite your social media friends to comment – but take it from us, you will want to keep the moderation tools active.
- Keep a Journal? Why not make it a blog. Talk about the issues of the day in a respectful way. Not only is it great branding, but blogging is also excellent practice in effective communication. Communication is a skill and power highly sought after by companies across the globe!
What if I don’t have the time?
Interviews and opportunities happen spontaneously, often when you do not expect them. So here are a few suggestions: If you have less than a few hours – lock up your accounts – make them private and work on the one account you have time to fix. Leave that one available/unlocked.
Warning: This is a short-term solution, and we don’t necessarily recommend this method – deep dive background work will find things on the internet even when you have locked the accounts. But it is better than doing nothing. If questioned you can be honest – Say something like,
“I know my social media profiles are not all together great, I’m in the midst of fixing that. It’s important for my future me.”
Watch for CareerNet’s posting of “Online clean-up, Part 2” and the downloadable clean-up sheet – coming soon.