We’ve heard it countless times from teachers and parents (my response was often an eyeroll) but now there’s serious data affirming that employers look for information about you online –and what they find could cost you a job.
79 percent of our country’s hiring managers and job recruiters reviewed job applicants’ online information, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft.
According to the study, 70 percent of those hiring managers say they rejected applicants based on what they found.
The study confirms what everyone has long suspected: what you post online (not to mention what people post about you) CAN affect your professional life. Are you willing to risk your career to protect inappropriate reminders of drunken college nights?
It’s only natural that employers will search for you online, hoping to put a face and personality to the name on your resume. Put your best foot forward for them. In this tough job market, you don’t want to do anything that hinders your chances at landing employment.
Make sure your online reputation is squeaky clean. First step? Clean up your Facebook! Adjust your privacy settings. You can set it so your profile can’t be found on a Facebook search. Set your photos to private. Make sure you don’t have a public profile, which shows up on Google searches. Delete wall posts from friends that talk about inappropriate activity or talk badly about others (yes, employers look at your walls!). Remove tags of photos that your grandma would deem inappropriate or unflattering. To make yourself even harder to find, change your Facebook name, change your email on Facebook to one that’s not on your resume, and remove yourself from your school network.
Google your name and see what comes up. Anything you’re embarrassed about? Try to get rid of that now before you’re applying for jobs. Also review your blog and your LinkedIn account to make sure a great representation of yourself is being shown.
It may seem silly to take your Internet persona so seriously, but the truth is that employers have very limited information about you to decide if you’re right for the job. It’s in your best interest to make sure all the information they find puts you in the best possible light.
— By Ali Straka, University of Missouri