Guide to personal online reputation management for job seekers & applicants

Nowadays, searching for a job does not mean posting your CV and handwritten cover letter to a potential employer. You can now apply directly online via numerous job boards, social networks or recruitment websites. But remember: having an online presence, whether personal or professional, also means having an online reputation… so it is important to manage it wisely

The goal here is to control and monitor the information that potential employers can find about you online, whilst enhancing your professional virtual presence.

Online Reputation: Definition & Significance

What is online reputation?

Online reputation is the image of yourself you project on the internet. Employers can easily use online search engines to know more about you. A quick search on Google will be enough to find your name and your LinkedIn profile, but also your Facebook page and its potential holiday or party pictures, your blog, or the comments you have left on forums.

Why is it important to manage your online reputation as a job seeker?

These days, online reputation is a key aspect in the recruitment process of future employees. It is used for “sourcing”, which is the stage in a recruitment process where the company actively looks for qualified candidates through digital tools. The aim for the employer is to find the best potential employees.

This data collection starts with the search of your LinkedIn profile, where one can find out about your academic background and professional experience. But it also holds other important information such as your professional relationships, potential recommendations from a former manager, your volunteer work experience or your soft skills.

A candidate’s online reputation should be taken seriously, as it reflects their values and conduct. Comments left on social networks and forums, or signs of political affiliation, can be ways for employers to decide whether to hire you.

How to Manage your Online Reputation (10 Tips & Tricks ?

  • 1. Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and Google yourself. What do you find? Reminder: always turn off personalized results. That way, the search engine will give you more objective results.

  • 2. Have as much positive content as possible about you on the first page of search results.

  • 3. Make sure to always use the same name for professional purposes. This will make it easier for potential employers to identify you. Check that this name is not linked to anyone’s negative content.

  • 4. Use pseudonyms when your identity is not essential or when posting personal content that could impact your positive online presence.

  • 5. Be careful what you share online on personal social media accounts. Make sure that your friends and family do not post any compromising content about you.

  • 6. Optimize your LinkedIn profile: use keywords that will enable opportunities in your industry to find you more easily, make sure you have a personalized URL with your name in it, and link your other professional social networks or websites so search engines will recognise them as relevant to you.

  • 7. Be proactive in your business sector! Use your professional social networks to create and share content related to your expertise, particularly in your professional field. Reminder: check your spelling. This is an important and quickly noticeable feature that can be a deal-breaker for employers.

  • 8. Make sure the information on your CV matches the one online. Employers pay close attention, as there is a lot of misinformation given by applicants during recruitment processes.

  • 9. Update your information on social networks and nurture your virtual presence by being active on the best platforms.

  • 10. Maintain your online reputation by regularly checking your search engine results. Set up alerts to be notified whenever a new listing of your name is made online. Don’t forget to look at the 2nd page of results as well, as that content could end up on the 1st page at any time.

Remember that companies also have an online reputation. Find out the ones you are interested in, so you can be up to date and better target your applications.

What Mistakes to Avoid to Ensure a Positive Online Presence?

  • 1. Having no online presence: Not finding anything about someone is not always a good thing.

  • 2. Not having a profile picture on your LinkedIn account: our brain is attracted to images, and it is a good way to identify you.

  • 3. Posting discreditable content: pictures and stories from your parties should not be available for everyone to see on the internet. By sharing those, you risk reducing your chances of being hired.

  • 4. Not telling the difference between private and professional content. You can set up your accounts to keep some content private. Personal opinions should remain private: avoid sharing malicious comments or criticizing your current employer. Nowadays, it is very easy to link such content to you, which will negatively impact your online reputation.

Keep such good practices in mind to cultivate a positive online presence and increase your chances of getting hired!