With the rapid rise of social media, safeguarding your virtual reputation has become an important aspect of maintaining your personal brand integrity.
Your online reputation is made up of all the information in the public arena - namely, whatever anyone can find when they enter your name into Google. This means that whether you are using social media or not, your name can appear online.
There are now over 10 Million Australians on Facebook, and over 2 Million Australians on LinkedIn and it is na? to think these sources of information will never be used in a recruitment process. Even more worrying is that currently there is no social media legislation in place to govern employer research across these platforms.
So is it unfair? Is it an invasion of privacy?
The truth is an employer can legally decide not to hire you based on a review of the contents of your online presence, as long as employers do not violate discrimination. Whether or not this is ethical practice is debatable, but regardless it could happen. The onus therefore, is on you to manage your virtual reputation.
This can be done in two ways. Firstly, check the privacy settings across every social media platform you are active on. Secondly, ensure there is no negative, embarrassing, provocative, or incriminating content.
Once you are signed in to LinkedIn, click on this link to edit the Public Profile url as well as other information that is available publicly. Once you have followed the link, look on the right-hand side to control how you appear when people search for you on Google. You have the ability to make each section visible or hidden, depending on your personal preferences.
Facebook is where many people can be caught out as it is more of a social platform than professional, and hence the content on there tends to be more informal. It is essential you have tight privacy settings so everything is not available in the public domain, and is therefore only visible to your friends.
All of your tweets can be found through Google so again, be cautious.
It is important to remember that as soon as you share your personal information with a person, or an institution, you (unfortunately) have to expect it to be shared. And as soon as you put something on the internet, you should assume it will be out there in cyberspace, forever.
Not only is it integral to have these three social media profiles clean, your brand will also be conveyed through blog posts you have written, forum entries, and comments online.
So maybe next time you prepare to start the job hunt, take a moment to reassure yourself that your online presence is not damaging your reputation.