How your online image is hurting you and 10 things you can do about it

Everyone knows that first impressions are important. Understanding very clearly exactly what impression you want to make is the first step toward doing so, and the true power of the “Identify Your Three Words” activity.

Nowadays your first impression is made before you walk in the door. You are being googled! According to a 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study, 94%of recruiters use social media for recruiting. This number has increased steadily for the past six years.. A 2014 CareerBuilder survey revealed that 51 %of employers rejected job applicants based on what was uncovered about them on social networking sites. The offending content posted by candidates included: ƒ

  • Provocative or inappropriate photos or information
  • References to drinking, illegal drugs, or sex   ƒ
  • Bad-mouthing or sharing confidential information about previous employers ƒ
  • Discriminatory comments about such things as race, gender, or religion ƒ
  • Evidence of poor communication skills  ƒ
  • Misrepresentation of employment qualifications ƒ
  • Use of profanity   ƒ
  • Linked to criminal behavior ƒ
  • Screen name was unprofessional ƒ
  • Lied about an absence

Conversely, in a survey from U.S. News & World Report, 86 %of employers indicated that a good online reputation can positively influence a hiring decision. In the CareerBuilder survey, one-third of employers who research candidates on social networking sites say they’ve found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate. What’s more, nearly a quarter found content that directly led to them hiring the candidate. Here are a few ways to leverage the power of your online image: ƒ

  1. Change your email address to something that sounds professional. ƒ
  2. Delete inappropriate materials from your social media accounts. ƒ
  3. Change your privacy settings to ensure that you know who is seeing what on your social media accounts. ƒ
  4. Create a LinkedIn profile that enhances your résumé. ƒ
  5. Post a professional head-and-shoulders picture of yourself in your social media profiles. ƒ
  6. Follow people on Twitter who is in your field of interest.
  7. Create a Google Alert for your name so you’ll know whenever material about you appears online.
  8. Get recommendations from other professionals on LinkedIn
  9. Interact with a prospective employer’s social media accounts
  10. Show professional and consistent activity on your social media accounts

Your image greatly affects how likeable you are, your ability to be hired by businesses and it certainly doesn’t help your self-esteem to know your online reputation is tarnished. Use these tips to help boost your online brand credibility, but also to better yourself as a businessperson in general.

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