Maintaining a Professional Online Presence for the Job Search

When it comes to applying for graduate jobs, your online presence has a lot to answer for. In fact, the way you are perceived can make or break your professional reputation and your career prospects. With social media and online networking skyrocketing in popularity with Gen Z, it’s more important than ever to keep your reputation in check.

Why does it matter so much?

Beyond just first impressions, potential employers are increasingly relying on online research to vet candidates. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 70% of employers now use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. So, the reality is that what you post and share online can directly impact your professional opportunities.

So, with this in mind, here’s how to keep your online presence clean and professional for potential employers:

Regularly monitor your online profiles

It’s highly recommended to review your social media accounts and other online platforms to ensure that your persona accurately reflects your professional image.

Pay close attention to the content you’ve shared (including posts, photos, videos, and comments) and ask yourself whether it could be perceived negatively by potential employers or could compromise your professional reputation. This is especially true of content that may contain offensive language, inappropriate images and controversial opinions.

In such instances, you should delete the content immediately, or un-tag yourself from any posts that you’re uncomfortable with. It may also be worth adjusting your privacy settings to limit who can view your personal content. The bottom line is, to think before you post!

Google yourself regularly

Regularly doing a quick Google search of yourself is a smart move if you’re serious about keeping your reputation in check. Make it a habit to type your name into a search engine every month to see what information pops up. Doing so means you can stay informed about any harmful content that may be circulating about you online and take the relevant action.

If you happen to come across negative or inaccurate information during your search, don’t panic. You have options for addressing it.

One approach is to contact the website or platform where the content is hosted. Many sites have procedures in place for reporting misinformation or harmful content, and they may be willing to remove the offending material. When reaching out, be courteous and provide any evidence that you believe supports your request.

If you’re unable to have the content removed directly, there’s another strategy to try. Instead of dwelling on the negative, focus on generating positive content about yourself. Update your LinkedIn profile, create a personal website or blog, or contribute articles to industry publications. By consistently sharing valuable content, you can gradually push down negative search results and showcase your expertise to employers.

Use a professional and positive tone

Whether you’re interacting with friends on social media, participating in forums, or commenting on articles, it’s wise to consider how you come across when communicating.

When engaging in online discussions for example, it’s crucial to express your opinions respectfully. Avoid getting drawn into heated debates that can escalate quickly and tarnish your image.

Also, be mindful of using derogatory language that could potentially damage your credibility. Remember that your words have the power to leave a lasting impression, so choose them wisely.

And finally, consider the nature of the content you share across your online platforms. Before posting anything, take a moment to reflect on how it may be perceived by others. Avoid sharing content that could be deemed controversial or unprofessional, as it may negatively impact how you are perceived by your peers and potential employers.