Leaving education? Clean-up your online image
Before you leave education, you need to prepare yourself for finding employment. You will be competing against your peers and it’s important that you stand-out for the right reasons.
It’s not enough to simply have a good CV, you must make sure that your online presence represents you professionally. Prospective employers will do checks on you and some even employ professional researchers to make sure there is nothing inappropriate lurking in your past.
You need to become a private investigator and check yourself out.
You will be surprised what you find. Often there will be posts on social media sites or reviews that you did some time ago and have since forgotten.
- If possible, remove any dubious pictures or posts.
- Under EU law, you have a ‘right to be forgotten’. In other words, you can request that content about you is removed if you believe it is inappropriate (for example a spent conviction). This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because you need to contact each search engine provider and the underlying website itself.
- Remember that Google isn’t the only search engine. Try searching for yourself using other search engines, such as Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo
Facebook and Instagram
Some people post content onto Facebook or Instagram that may put a prospective employer off them.
For good security, your Facebook profile should be locked-down so that only your friends (or perhaps friends of friends) can see it. If not, you have a decision to make - either change the security settings or clean-up your content.
There is good advice here from Facebook about what others can see about you. Whilst looking at your Facebook security, make sure you read this as well, about how to keep your account secure.
It's easy to view Twitter postings that date back many years. Twitter makes it very easy to send a message and often people send a message without really thinking of the long-term consequences.
Although you can restrict who can view your tweets, previous tweets are still accessible.
It is worth looking back through your previous tweets and removing any ‘iffy’ ones.
When you apply for a job or converse with a prospective employer using email, it is important to have a ‘sensible’ email name. For example, using the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org” is OK with friends and family, but not with an employer.
You may ask why should this matter? The answer is easy – it shouldn’t, but it might. You need to do everything you can to remove anything that might tarnish your image, however minor you may consider it.
Most employers will look you up on LinkedIn. If you aren’t familiar with LinkedIn, it’s like ‘Facebook for business people’. It is free to join and is effectively your online CV.
LinkedIn is a very useful networking tool, allowing you to link to friends, colleagues and other business related acquaintances.
Ensure you fill-in your profile with the information from you CV.
Have a ‘head and shoulders’ photo.
Send connect requests to your friends.
Think about who you know professionally, such as your parents, parents of friends, colleagues you have previously worked with. Send them connect requests but make sure you change the default wording. It is important to personalise the message and not just send a generic connect message.
Suggested wording when connecting on LinkedIn: “Hi ****. We met when we worked together at **** last year. I graduate from university this July and am keen to find an opportunity that will allow me to further my interest in ****”. If you hear of any suitable opportunity, please can you let me know. Thanks for your help.”