When you finish writing your resume, you’ll need to focus on your online presence. That’s because many recruiters and hiring managers look up applicants online as part of their vetting process. What will they find about you? Using this guide, it’s possible to determine how your current online presence relates to your resume, and take steps to modify it.
Use a Different Computer
To get a fresh perspective on your internet presence, consider using a computer other than your primary Mac or PC. The problem with using your personal computer for this exercise is it’s just that: personal. It’s probably logged into your primary email and social media accounts and may have other settings that make it difficult to see yourself objectively. To start this process, go to a local library and use one of their computers or borrow a friend’s laptop.
Google and Other Search Engines
Once you’re on a different computer, your first step is probably obvious: Google yourself. Use quotation marks to search your name as an exact phrase (so “Allison Rosenberg,” not Allison Rosenberg), and try searching any prior names, middle names, or nicknames you’ve used in the past. If your name is relatively common, try including your location or other identifying details. Also, with Google’s “site:” feature, you can narrow your search to particular domains or websites. For instance, searching “Allison Rosenberg” site:www.sandiegouniontribune.com would generate only pages that contain that exact name on the San Diego Union-Tribune website.
Within your relevant Google searches, don’t forget to check results under the News, Images, and Videos tabs. If you find anything that could be seen as a red flag such as profane, political, or provocative material, take note of it or email yourself the link in question. You can then revisit and see about removing the item when you’re back on your personal computer. Also, explore Google’s options for requesting to remove personal information from their search results.
You can repeat this process on other major search engines like Yahoo or Bing.
Public Social Media Accounts
If you’re active on Twitter, YouTube, or other commonly “public” social media sites, there’s a good chance your activity is viewable from any computer. Bring up your accounts on these platforms to confirm just how “public” your presence is.
When looking over each account, follow the rule of thumb that any information that appears should generally reflect (and therefore support) the information on your finished resume. For instance, if you have a Twitter account focused on following industry updates and thought leaders in your field, that’s great – leave it as is. Also, feel free to leave up any public accounts devoted to personal hobbies, particularly ones you already mentioned in your resume’s “Personal” section. While unrelated to your career goal, hobby-based accounts are a relatively neutral aspect of your online presence and can even serve as a conversation starter in an interview. Otherwise, if your public social media is well outside the scope of information on your resume, strongly consider deactivating your account or turning it private for the duration of your job search.
Private Social Media Accounts
After reviewing your public web presence, bring up any social media accounts meant to be “private” – i.e., viewable only to your friend and family connections on the site. Facebook is most common, but you may have the same settings on Instagram or other networks. When viewed on another person’s computer, are your private social accounts indeed private?
Basic elements like your profile photos may still be viewable depending on your account settings. Try to see these details from the perspective of a recruiter or hiring manager – would they give the employer any qualms? As with your Google results and public social media, take note to review and possibly remove anything questionable or unrelated to the new focus you’re establishing with your resume.