Applying for Jobs? Control What Employers Find Online About You

Recently there has been much scrutiny over employers asking applicants for their Facebook username and passwords. And while lawmakers and Facebook are taking an active stance against it, employers still have access to view your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and anything they can find about you on the internet.

Social networking sites do not default to the most private setting. So while applying for a job, you may not be aware that content you are publishing to your friends may be available to everyone. Control the content employers find about you by following the 5 steps below.

  1. Google Yourself
    Type your name into Google. If there is anything in Google you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see, chances are you do not want perspective employers to see that as well. Remove yourself from slanderous posts in forums, associations with controversial sites or groups, and anything that may conflict with information on your resumé. Also, check Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com.
  2. Google Images
    Check your name in Google Images as well. You might be surprised how easily some Facebook content from 3 years ago pops up. If there is anything at all negative, track down exactly where that image came from and remove it.
  3. Clean Up Your Facebook
    Sign out of Facebook and comb through exactly what people that aren’t friends with you see. Look through your photo albums, posts, and especially the “About Me” section. Recent college graduates often have too many images filled with drinking and partying. Instead, hide your photo albums and either make sure your “About Me” section looks professional or hide that section as well. Also, hide your profile picture album if you don’t want prospective employers going through previous profile picture images.
  4. Did You Change Your Facebook Name? It Might Not Be Enough
    Over the past few years there have been an overwhelming amount of Facebook users that change their Facebook name to better hide their accounts. However, solely changing your name and not implementing a few privacy settings is reckless. If enough people have mentioned you, or even if you have mentioned yourself by your full name, that may be just enough for a perspective employer to find your Facebook.To ensure you look great to prospective employers, make your Facebook private, but leave the “About Me” section open, ensuring it is filled with professional and appropriate content. Also, show a suitable profile picture (e.g., no drinks, cigarettes, drugs, or pictures at clubs or bars).
  5. Check Your Twitter, Foursquare, and other Social Media Profiles
    Facebook is usually the first social media site employers look at while researching their applicants, but employers also check Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Myspace and any other site they can find their applicants. Just like you should comb through your Facebook, you should take control of your privacy settings in all of your social media accounts and ensure all information is either private or appropriate.

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