Looking for a job? Take a moment to explore your online profiles and optimize your presence so your digital footprint works for you, not against you.
Every person embarking on a job search thinks they have all the bases covered: resume, cover letter and good references. But many forget about one important concern: their digital footprint.
In today’s connected world, your online activities are only one small search away. Everything you do online has the possibility of being seen by a potential employer.
Not only can employers see what you get up to in your free time (and however scandalous that may be), they can also find out about the your work attitudes and consider how suitable for the job you are.
As more companies turn to researching their candidates online, it’s more important for job seekers to understand their online presence as well as how to improve it.
Here are seven tips for optimizing your digital footprint. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Search for yourself
The first step to evaluating and improving your online presence is to learn what other people see when they look for you online. Go to the most popular search engines and search your name — preferably the name you list on your resume or job applications.
What results are returned? Are they positive? Is there anything that needs to be remedied?
2. Change your privacy settings
Many social networks’ default privacy settings are set to public. The settings you choose will most likely be on a case-to-case basis. Maybe you want to fully protect your personal Facebook page while keeping your professional Twitter account available publicly, for example.
Go through each of your profiles and adjust the privacy settings accordingly.
3. Write compelling bios
Most social network sites have a space to write a short bio of yourself. Make these as professional as possible and include keywords relevant to your industry or the types of jobs you’re looking for. Keep it short, sweet, professional and interesting.
4. Look through your photos
Don’t forget to do an image search of yourself during step one. You’ll want to look closely at any public photos of you. Do they accurately represent how you want to be seen by potential employers? Your digital footprint is more than just words.
Either delete questionable photos or hide them with strict privacy settings. You may also need to ask friends to delete or un-tag photos of you they have on their profiles.
5. Make regular updates
Be an active user of any platform you’re on. You shouldn’t “set and forget” your profiles. Remember to regularly check that all your information is up-to-date and gives the most authentic impression of you as possible.
6. Share your portfolio online
Showcasing your portfolio and past works online can be a great way to impress potential employers. Think of your online presence and portfolio as a supplement to your resume. Show employers what you’re capable of and what you can bring to their team.
To further optimize your digital footprint, register your name as a domain or get your own website to host your profile on. Having your own website means you’ll have at least one property online you have complete and total control over.
7. Stay professional
Don’t forget — a prospective employer can potentially see everything you post online. (Click here to tweet this reminder.) Maintain a professional, level-headed demeanor on social networks and always keep your potential audience in mind. When in doubt, don’t post it.
Building and optimizing your digital footprint is an important part of any job search today. After all, your online presence could be the difference between landing a job and losing it.
Carrie Nebens co-founded Equis Staffing in 2006, bringing 25 years of business operations experience in the staffing and healthcare industries with her. Under her leadership, Equis has experienced unprecedented growth, making Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America for the last three years.