Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family to share stories, pictures and videos, but did you know that employers are using these networks as a way of vetting their applicants suitability.
More and more employers are using social networks to screen candidates, so if your profiles are public or you have posted something using your real name then your future employer could have an insight into more than just your qualifications and career history and as such the content you post online could have a big impact on your career prospects.
So how can you manage your online reputation and use social networks to your advantage when searching for a new role?
The easiest way to do this is to separate your professional and personal personas, think about what you are happy for anyone to see and read about you.
Don’t forget that anything posted under your name or email address can be searched on, so if you have ever ranted about an organisation, individual or expressed views that are contrary to their policies, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Do a Google search on your name and email address and see what you get and if any of it appears less than professional, deal with it before sending any applications.
Think about your email address as well and see if it reflects a professional persona, so if you are using something like firstname.lastname@example.org then get a new one quick.
Check you voice mail message on your mobile or any other answer phones you use. The last thing you want is a prospective employer to call you and get an answer like “hey dude, not here, leave a message…"
The web isn’t there to catch you out so don’t become a social hermit, the web can be your friend in the recruitment process, as many employers say that information they have found, has positively influenced their decision process, so consider ‘Professional’ social networking sites such as LinkedIn, designed for business networking and which also allow you to post your experience and qualifications.
You could also consider setting up your own website or blog to demonstrate your initiative and if done right, this could show off your creativity and communication skills, as well as being a platform to sell yourself through.