Research has shown that some employers have rejected candidates after finding unsavoury information on social networking pages, so checking what Google results pages say about you is an important part of getting your graduate job search right.
Here’s how to make sure that results that come up under your name are positive and some extra tips for making your online footprint shine.
Do a thorough search
The first step is to search your name online. Remember to log out if you use a Google account, as otherwise you won’t see the same results as a stranger will.
Don’t just think that because you share the same name as a tennis player from the 70s or a professor in America that they won’t find information on you. If you put your name into the search bar in Google and nothing comes up then try adding other key information about yourself, like your university or hometown.
Another check is to search for is your email address. You may have commented on online discussions, or shared it with groups or societies and it’s important to know what results come up.
Assessing the results
Future employers won’t just be looking at your LinkedIn page. They might also look at your social media pages, the images that come up under your name and any other sites you may have contributed to. We recommend starting with the most influential websites that turn up in search results.
This professional networking site is a great way to make a good impression to employers, many of whom use it for recruiting.
The biggest mistake to make on LinkedIn is to have an unprofessional picture. Ideally find a picture of yourself looking smart and smiling. Future employers don’t want to see a holiday snap, or a selfie taken in the mirror of the bathroom (yes, this is a real example).
Make sure your profile is complete. Use the same name you use in job applications, and include all your education details and any work experience, internships and volunteer positions. You can add more depth to your profile by following well-known businesses that you might be interested in working for, joining discussion groups and connecting with graduate recruiters.
LinkedIn has a tool that allows you to see your profile as another person. You can also change the privacy settings to fit your needs, such as only allowing connections to see your full profile.
This tends to be the site that lands graduate jobseekers in hot water, and that’s probably because it’s seen as a great way to communicate with friends, so pictures and messages posted are highly personal in nature. While Enterprise will never look at your personal Facebook page, research shows that more than 40% of employers have actually rejected candidates after looking at their Facebook page. Reasons included drinks and drugs, racist or sexist remarks and lying about qualifications.
Thankfully, Facebook has privacy settings that allow you to keep your pictures, status updates and shares amongst friends only. Click on the padlock in the corner of your Facebook page and you’ll be able to see who can see what and make changes to keep any pictures of you at a full-moon party in Thailand out of the public eye.
Be aware than any posts or images that you share in open groups or on open pages may be visible in search engines. Delete any posts or comments that you feel employers might not view favourably.
Many people don’t use their full name on twitter, but if you do use yours, make sure you scroll through your feed and delete any tweets that you may regret posting as you search for your first graduate job. Twitter is a great tool to share your enthusiasm for the industry you want to work in, keeping up to date with graduate recruiters and show off the experiences you’ve been having while on a summer internship or industrial placement, so use it wisely.
Adding positive results to your personal search
Creating unique content under your name is a great way to ensure that search engines display results that will pique employers’ interest. Why not create your own personal website or blog, using your name as the URL. This should rank highly in a Google search and is a great way of highlighting your talents. WordPress and similar services allow you to create a website for free, and have resume templates to highlight not only your work and education but also your portfolio if you have pictures, designs or videos to show.
It might feel strange to think that potential employers will be searching for you online, but with so much of our lives being broadcast on the internet it should come as no surprise. Search results that allow employers to discover your best side could reinforce your suitability for a graduate job or internship.