Cleaning Up Your Online Footprint to Find a Job


The Internet has slowly but surely become intertwined into the modern job searching process. Employers can now look you up on Google and social media sites, and the information they see can be as important as your actual resume might be. Knowing what employers look for will be a big help when it comes to changing your online outlook.

The Huffington Post reported that one of the initial reasons a company might search your name is to learn more about your image and your idea of acceptable behavior. A key thing that might catch their attention is the way you present yourself through pictures on social media. Ideally, when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you should aim to keep as many professional pictures up as possible. It's not that having fun on social media is inherently wrong, but hiring managers need to sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of applications. As a result, they'll look for any reason to disqualify a candidate and make their jobs easier.

Depending on the industry you're aiming to join, there may also be a demand for employers to see your social media following or an online portfolio. In public-facing jobs, being able to draw and retain a crowd is a big deal for many hiring managers. Creative and project-driven industries may want to see employees who have evidence of their skills, such as a website or other collection of work that helps you show your stuff. It doesn't need to span your entire career or require days of work, but if you have something presentable to back up your resume, that will be a big help.

Character is king

No matter what industry you aim to join, your manager will eventually want to make sure you're a good cultural fit, not just a match for their required skills, Business 2 Community wrote. When employers go to Google for more evidence in these situations, they'll watch the type of tweets, Facebook links or LinkedIn content that you share. If you badmouth bosses, have negative views toward an industry or make comments they deem inappropriate, it's likely they'll shy away from hiring you. If you look at your past tweets and see some potentially problematic stuff, delete it or hide it. The same goes for content on Facebook, LinkedIn or any site where you use your real name. When in doubt, protect yourself.

If a company ends up Google searching your name, they'll be looking for reasons to hire you as much as reasons to shy away from you. This means that if you have opportunities to beef up your profiles with industry-related content, go for it. Connect with industry professionals and colleagues, and converse with them about issues you're interested in. Reach out to networking groups for better guidance on certain topics. The more you can do to play yourself up, the more potential managers will respond positively.

Backup is always good

There are a few smaller pieces of advice that may draw managers to you. The first is to ensure you are who you say you are. If your resume is full of stellar information, employers may want to vet you. They may also want to check your reputation, and to do so, they'll often search for you on websites like LinkedIn. If you have plenty of references and recommendations, that will back up what you've said and will likely help you come across better in managers' eyes.