Your online presence is out there and it is already shaping the personal brand the rest of the world sees.
And because 3 out 4 hiring managers and recruiters check the social media profiles of candidates – even when they aren’t provided – your online presence might be affecting your job prospects.
Whether you chose not to invest time into crafting your personal brand or you want to put in the effort to design a personal brand that speaks to your goals, you do need to clean up your online presence.
Action 1: Google yourself to see what your online presence looks like
People make decisions about you based on what they can find on the internet and 92% of companies use social media for recruiting. The easiest way for someone to check your credibility is through a simple Google search.
So, how are you faring?
Type your name into Google and see what comes up in the search results.
Your online presence should add credibility to your CV, confirming who you say you are and add a sophistication and authority to your personal brand. Ultimately you want to make sure the information that a Google search brings up about you is accurate, updated, and reflects what your personal brand stands for.
TIP: Set up a free Google Alert for your name to ensure you know what is being published about you online. Every time your name is mentioned publicly online, you’ll receive an email with the link.
Action 2: Make changes to factors affecting your online presence
The information that Google reveals is what you, and what others, have shared about you on public online platforms. Knowing what you’ve got out there is the first step to shaping your personal brand moving forward.
What privacy settings do you currently have on your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn?
Do you have anything compromising on any of your profiles, such as inappropriate (or out of context) photos that you’ve been tagged in; opinionated posts or comments that you’ve shared relating to sensitive topics; information in your bio that could potentially position you in a bad light?
Do you have any inactive social media accounts or blogs that you may have forgotten about? 1 in 3 employers rejected candidates based on something they found on social profiles so it’s important you’re aware of everything that’s out there.
Are you mentioned on any third party websites that could be detrimental to your personal brand? If so, can you contact that website and remove the mention?
TIP: Shying away from joining social media channels or ensuring everything about yourself online is “top secret” may also negatively impact your personal brand. An online presence is the perfect way to build your personal and professional personality, and it is possible to enjoy a personal online presence, while maintaining the professionalism of your personal brand.
Action 3: Start your personal brand, with what you already have
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve probably succeeded in wiping the slate clean and you’re ready to start the real work involved in building and defining your personal brand. The key here is to define what you want to be known for, and build it into your brand from the bottom up.
You need to ask yourself the follow questions:
What social media profiles do you have? Do some of them need to be deleted, or are you missing vital opportunities for networking by not having the right ones?
Have you defined which social media profiles you will use to position yourself professionally, and which will be strictly personal?
Are you following the right influencers on social media to ensure you’re up-to-date with the relevant industry trends and changes?
Do you have your own blog or website? Do you post regularly, and is the content you’re producing positioning as you as a thought leader in your industry?
While crafting the perfect personal brand, it’s important to define the consistent image you’re going to be presenting about yourself. A poorly defined brand that conveys too many different messages and values can be detrimental for your career advancement. You’ll need to take into account who you are, how others perceive you, and who you want to become professionally. If you don’t define these things, the public will define them for you, by what is already available. Now is your chance to define yourself, and your career.