Whether you like it or not, if you have ever used the internet you have likely left a digital footprint. A footprint isn’t necessarily a bad thing, having a positive footprint can help you stand out from the competition and increase your chance of getting the job. However photos, comments, blog posts, article, tweets and ‘likes’ could paint you in a poor light with potential employers. As a SEO Consultant at SALT agency, a growing search marketing / SEO company in Leeds and London, I interview many candidates and one of the first things I do when I receive a CV is to Google them. You’d be amazed at some of the information and photos you find! And I’ll be honest; in many cases a social profile can be highly influential in the decision making process.
What does your Facebook profile say about you?
Despite the number of active UK Facebook users falling by 600,000 in December 2012, it still remains one of the top ten busiest territories for the social media giant. There are 32,299,980 UK Facebook users, which represents 51.81% of the UK population and 61.26% of the online UK population according to Social Bakers,so the chances are that you too have a profile.
What about that old Bebo and Myspace account you haven’t used in years?
It’s not just Facebook, think about it, just how manyplaceshave you signed up to on the internet?Twitter, Google+, Forums, Blogs, Myspace, Dating sitesand Bebocould all host your online relics. Last month I was invited to speak at the Employability and Enterprise Fortnight at The Leeds Metropolitan University. When I started looking at my own social profiles in preparation for the talk I soon realised that over 15-years on the internet can leave a lot of information about you.
Using Google to search for your profile
As an SEO consultant I spend most of my time ‘playing’ with Google and this is probably the first place that someone reading your CV will look to find more about you. You might not be aware but Google allows the use of advanced operators within search queries to refine a search.
Example of a site:facebook.com search query to only search Facebook.com for specific text
The advanced operator site: can be used to only search for keywords, or phrases, on a particular domain. This helps narrow your search towards different social platforms. The person or persons reviewing your CV may use other keywords to search for you online so it’s important to include variables such as location, hobbies, job title and more into your research. In this second example, instead of just making my Facebook profile private I created a Facebook page to continue having a Facebook presence.
Use additional keywords to narrow the search as a recruiter may do
At first the thought of searching Google endlessly for phrases using your name may seem daunting, just where do you start? I had exactly the same issue, that’s why I decided to create an Excel spread sheet to produce popular search engine queries based on information about you. Simply download the file, open it up in MS Excel and add your personal details. When you’ve added your details it will automatically create links to popular search queries in Google.co.uk.
Enter your details in the Social Profile Checking Tool
Remember if you don’t find anything that might not be the best result - you should take notice and create an account. For example, if you don’t have a Linkedin account – or can’t find it in search results - then you should probably make one and/or start using it properly.
5 Tips to Action
- Research your profile using my social media profile checking tool
- Lockdown personal profiles you don’t want employers to see
- Create social profiles you would like employers to see
- Use your profiles to build up a professional digital impression of yourself
- If you haven’t got one, a Linkedin presence is an absolute MUST!