Clever online profile crucial in today’s digital climate We’ve all heard the apocryphal stories of a friend’s friend who was turned down for that high-flying city job because the HR department found pictures of his stag weekend on Facebook. Unfortunately, some companies really do take ‘background checks’ this seriously.
How can you ensure this doesn’t happen to you? Toby Vacher, Head of Product at social profile experts enthuse.me explains some things to keep in mind.
Be mindful of what you post
This is perhaps the most obvious point to get out of the way first, but the simplest rule to ensure you don’t slip up is to think twice before you post to public platforms such as Twitter, photo-sharing websites and (if your settings are relaxed) even Facebook. If you’re posting something that doesn’t make you look good, post it somewhere more appropriate, more private, or don’t post it at all.
Always know who your audience is
Facebook is actually a private social network, but many of us aren’t aware of the myriad settings available to us to hide what we post from people who don’t need to see it. In the top bar, look for the padlock icon, then drill down into the settings to ensure only your friends see what you post on a day-to-day basis. You can even change who sees each post each time you add a new one.
On the other hand, if you’re happy with your publicly visible content, you should also set the ‘who can look me up’ settings to ‘everyone’ and call your interviewer’s bluff. If they do look you up, you’ve already made sure they’ll only see the good stuff.
Trim the fat
Chances are, you’ve been active online for a long time now, and you probably have a huge number of social profiles dotted around the web. Search through these and shut down anything you no longer need. Remember Bebo, MySpace, even Hi5? Do you still want those versions of you floating around the web? Search your own name, and go a few pages deeper into the results than usual to uncover your long-forgotten profiles.
Keep the best bits
The idea is not just to ruthlessly delete everything you’ve ever done online, but to be more selective over the content you think shows off your knowledge and expertise in the best light. Employers also don’t want to hire people who look like all they do is work. Showing some personality, or that you have a number of exciting hobbies and interests, is definitely something you want to hold onto within your online presence.
Bring it all together
If you’ve gone through the above 4 points and are pretty happy with the way you’re presented online, start to think about how you can bring all these elements together and make sure anyone looking you up will find exactly what you want them to see. This is the idea behind what we’re doing at enthuse.me – to let people showcase the best bits of their work or knowledge in a simple and elegant one-page profile.
Don’t forget though, that you’re not all about your work, so make sure your personal profiles complement your professional ones and hopefully even enhance your job prospects.
Toby Vacher is the Head of Product at enthuse.me - a beta-stage startup based in London’s ‘Tech City’ hoping to become the best place for professionals, freelancers, hobbyists and other individuals to showcase their work, knowledge or passion online.