THERE ARE THREE THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD DO EACH APRIL:
1. File taxes
2. Review your Credit Rating
3. Curate your Online Presence
When you are taking the time to take care of your financial self, you should also set aside some time to take care of your professional, on-line self.
WHAT DOES CURATING YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE MEAN?
It’s common practice these days for potential friends, significant others, and employers to do a quick social media check upon meeting you. What each of those groups are looking for are very similar; they want to know if you are someone they should associate with. And while it’s pointless to obsess over your online presence on a regular basis, it’s helpful to do a check at least on a yearly basis to make sure that your virtual self is representing you well to your future friends, suitors, and co-workers.
IT STARTS SIMPLY ENOUGH, WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.
Are you still using SnappyDragon420@hotmail.com on your professional resume? Usually found at the top of your resume, your email address can be the first clue as to what kind of employee you would be. Think of it this way: if your email provider is a fashion label, then your email name is how you wear it. And while recruiters are willing to overlook this if you are a qualified candidate, it’s one of those things that can raise an eyebrow. Something that makes an employer chuckle might be creating the impression that you are not to be taken seriously. While the safe bet is just to create a professional “throwaway” email address for your job search, you can use this to your advantage by creating and using a new email address that reflects your creative and professional personality.
Many employers will employ a quick google check and see where it gets them. This is where a lot of the horror stories can pop up about a zombie myspace page coming back to haunt you (like those photos from that kegger ten years ago!). Why do employers do this? You may be surprised at the sheer number of photos put up by potential job seekers where they are holding drug paraphernalia or engaging in activities that an employer is just not willing to take a risk on. And while you may have outgrown and moved on from that lifestyle, you should make sure that your social media accounts have also moved on. Not only that, but you can also use this strategy to your own advantage – perhaps you can make sure that your name or email appears prominently on a website concerning your chosen profession or a blog post that shows your sense of humor and intellect. These are activities that help the employer paint a positive picture in their head of what kind of employee you would be.
You should also update your LinkedIn profile at least once a year, even if you have nothing new to add. Making a change to a job title or your photo will update the status feeds of your connections, perhaps getting the attention of a would be recruiter. In addition, you can use LinkedIn to judge how important your potential employer views a LinkedIn profile – if their recruiters are active on LinkedIn, then chances are the company uses LinkedIn to recruit. Contacting a recruiter via LinkedIn can sometimes help bypass the application portal process.
Finally, it’s good practice to review how secure your social media pages are, like Facebook. Try logging out and accessing your page as a stranger to see how much information you can glean about yourself. The easiest security is making sure you have set restrictions, but you should go one step further: with Facebook’s Timeline feature, while a lot of your present information can be hidden from view, information that you had publically posted years ago may still show up on your timeline. Eventually, your new co-workers will want to be Facebook friends and even though you work with them (or rather, especially since you work with them), do you want them to know about what you were like a decade ago? Take an afternoon and go through your timeline, removing posts that might make you cringe now. It will be well worth your time.
It’s a chore, but like taxes and your credit rating, your online presence should be carefully checked and maintained. Do you have any other tips on curating your online profile?