In today’s technology-driven society, your online presence is more important than ever.

In the age of social media, it is standard for recruiters and employers to search your online presence as part of their background check. When it comes to potential employers or people interested in working with you, it’s important to make sure that the things they find about you are representative of who you are. Your online reputation is an important part of your personality, especially so for job seekers. Do you really want potential employers to know you spend Saturday nights doing keg stands at the local bar? Or that you have procrastination problems? Almost everyone has something they wouldn’t want their future boss to see, so we’ve compiled a list of ways to help you clean up your online presence.
1. Find out where you stand.
The first step is knowing exactly what is out there. Google yourself. Log out of all Google accounts and search for your name. You don’t need to go deeper than the first few pages, but notice what comes up. Making a good first impression requires actually making an impression, so not finding anything about you could be just as detrimental as finding something. Repeat this with other popular search engines such as Bing, Microsoft Edge, etc.
Next, you should view your public profile on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Log out of your accounts and search for yourself by name. If you can find yourself that way, visit your page and check out what’s visible. If you can’t find yourself through the search, log back in and view your profile as “public.” This will allow you to see your profile as someone who is not connected with you. Again, take notice of what’s visible.
2. Clean up results you don’t like.
If unfavorable images or social media posts about you pop up in the top search results of search engines, make sure that you remove or delete them.
For social media, your best bet is to just delete, or ask people to remove, any pictures or posts that don’t portray a positive image of you. You can also update your privacy settings so people not connected with you will be limited in what they see. However, keep in mind that limiting who can see your social accounts can keep your profiles and content out of search engine results – making you unable to be found at all. Check out the links below to learn how to update your privacy settings on a few of the most popular social sites.
3. Monitor your presence.
It’s not enough to just search yourself once and clean up what you don’t like; it’s also important to keep track of what comes up when people search for you. Google Alerts is a great tool that can be used to monitor the web, and to receive notifications on how your name is showing up in searches. Using this tool will allow you to find out as soon as you are mentioned online and take any necessary steps for unfavorable content.
4. Create positive content.
As mentioned before, making a good first impression requires actually making an impression. You can create new positive content that accurately reflects who you are. Some things you can do include creating a personal website, writing blog posts about your professional interests, and commenting and engaging with others on social media platforms. Creating positive content will also help push any unflattering search results further down the list, making them less visible.
Taking control of your online presence is important. Remember, recruiters and employers who are looking you up online have never met you, and their impression of you begins with what they see online. Start building your dream career by constructing a positive, professional identity.