The Internet is filled with billions of pieces of information, so what is it saying about you? Before you conduct a job search, take some time to thoroughly dissect your online presence. You can rest assured that if you are considered for a position just about anywhere, they will be looking you up online, so instead of taking an unnecessary risk, get to work! That way, you’ll be the one that finds that embarrassing blog from high school, not your potential employer.
First things first, pop your name into a search engine and search yourself. Try inputting different versions of your name, including or excluding your middle name or initial. Google is a beautiful thing, and using it in conjunction with other search engines will ensure you see everything that’s out there.
Besides social media sites, old high school projects/stats (I’m certainly not ashamed of my high school volleyball record…), and online forums there are other sources of information out there. Conducting a public record search is also a good idea. Regardless of if you think that there is no possible way anything could be on there, check it for errors. The same goes with doing a credit check. Because they are sometimes conducted with background checks, knowing what it says about you can be important. You can’t fix errors, or have an idea of how you look to employers, without seeing all of this information first-hand.
Now that you’ve seen what there is to see, are you comfortable with what’s out there? Are your privacy settings what you need them to be? Do you need to change a username, or delete an account? How about starting an account that gives them something positive to look at? Remember, your online presence gives employers another dimension of who you are, so building a professional online brand is important. Don’t let your past come back to haunt you. Look it up!