Online Presence When Looking for a Job
Important Advice for Job Seekers from a Small Business Owner
We recently had an opening for a new team member at MSW Interactive Designs and received more than 50 resumes for the position. After going through the process of narrowing the field down for possible interviews, we would like to give some advice for job seekers in this month’s column. This advice applies to any candidate for any job.
As an applicant, you should be proactive about each of these before sending a resume to a potential employer. Assume that the employer is going to look at each of these and make some assumptions about you.
1. Google Yourself.
Online information about you can easily be found by searching your name in Google. If you find something that might be a negative flag for an employer, be ready to explain it upfront. Everyone can make mistakes, so just be proactive. Know that if it’s out there, they have probably seen it.
2. Scrub Your Facebook Profile, Posts, and Photos.
If you have a public Facebook account, your potential employer will look at it. If your profile photo is not professional, or shows an image that can be controversial, consider changing it. If you have posts or photos that can be viewed as controversial, consider removing them or making your profile private. Nothing can turn off a potential employer faster than drunken photos, foul language, or angry political posts.
This is Facebook for professionals. Make sure your profile matches your resume, including accurate past employment history. If things don’t match up, this can be a red flag for a potential employer. Have a professional head shot taken for your profile photo.
4. Clean Up Other Channels (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
Same advice here…if you don’t think your Mom would approve of a post, or you wouldn’t want it published in a local newspaper, then remove it. If it’s in the public arena, it’s fair game for a potential employer to look at and make assumptions about you.
5. CaseNet Yourself.
Most employers will check your name in CaseNet. For those unaware of this resource, it’s a public website to see if there have been any criminal charges filed against you, any judgements against you, and any civil lawsuits you have been involved with. If you have anything negative in CaseNet, be proactive about discussing it with a potential employer. If it’s there, they have seen it.
*Note: CaseNet is a State of Missouri resource. If you live in a different area, be sure to check any equivalent websites for your state.
In today’s digital world, it’s easy for an employer to find a great deal of information about you before they ever meet you. If you will be applying for a job in the future, it’s worth your time to do an “online audit” of yourself. Remember, as an employee you will represent THEIR business.
Employers look for GREAT candidates. They start with your resume. If that’s good, then they Google you. When your online footprint is a good one, your chances of getting an interview go way up!
~ Mike Waggett, Owner