Before you get started on your job search, you need to clean up your online content and I mean clean it up now, or at the very least check to see that everything is OK in the online world!
This is one of the first steps you need to make, before you even start redeveloping your marketing documents, such as résumé / CV and LinkedIn profile. WHY?
Well, I want you to picture the typical scenario playing out across the globe. The recruiter or HR Officer makes a shortlist of résumés and then Google’s the job candidate. They are not necessarily looking for ‘digital dirt’, but looking for clues in the online presence, with the online presence effectively being the ‘online résumé. From tweets, blogs, web profiles, images, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok and status updates, a profile of the job candidate is being established.
If any dirt pops up, inappropriate photographs, presence in seedy forums or information that paints the job candidate in a negative light (e.g., a tweet or Facebook post complaining about work, illegal recreational drug use, sexual or drunken weekend exploits), then the candidate will find their résumé designated to the ‘do not interview pile’.
Privacy advocates might be up in arms about such a process, but the reality of the modern age is that anything on the Internet is currently fair game, even if this information about the job candidate is false, inaccurate, misleading, or totally irrelevant to their ability to perform a specific job or task.
Most job seekers are unaware of the level of scrutiny they are subject to. While many understand the importance of removing private information on résumés (such as date of birth, photographs, marital status, or hobbies), people fail to realise the impact of disclosing personal details online.
Take these facts:
|“Nearly all businesses (98%) do background research about job candidates online” 54% employees rejected candidates based on what they found.” (Career Builder) 87% ‘The percentage of recruiters that used search engines to uncover information about candidates’ 54% ‘The percentage of recruiters who have eliminated a candidate based on information they found on the internet’(ExecuNet)|
AND these figures are dated (from October 2020), so I suspect the statistics now are even higher than this.
According to CareerBuilder survey, the leading types of posts and behaviour that left a bad taste in employer mouths:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or information. (40%)
- Information about drinking or illicit drugs. (36%)
- Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion. (31%)
- Linkage to criminal behaviour. (30%)
- Lying about qualifications. (27%)
- Poor online communication skills. (27%)
- Bad-mouthing their previous company or fellow employees. (25%)
- Screen name of candidate was unprofessional (22%)
- Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers. (20%)
- Posted too frequently. (12%)
While several studies have shown information on candidates’ social media profiles is not predictive of job performance, most organisations use information gleaned from social media to make decisions during the hiring process.
PLUS, a fact most people don’t realise is if you put it out there, there’s no rewind on the Internet! That is right – no rewind!
Did you know that your content is archived on the Way Back Machine?
In fact, there are 452 billion pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago at Way Back Machine: http://archive.org/web/web.php
If you put it out on the web and it’s not password protected, employers/recruiters can find this information if they want to really scrutinise you.
Remember these facts:
Facebook owns your content with an ‘irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license’
Dan Schawbel, the Author of Me 2.0 stated about Twitter
‘The most common mistake I see job seekers make on Twitter is not realising how public Twitter is. Many people tweet about things that would turn employers off. These days, tweets appear in search engines… So everything you tweet can really tarnish your personal brand’
If you are using a free service like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or Twitter, and have clicked “yes” to their terms of service, then you have absolutely no rights to complain about anything they ever do with the content you post on their service. If the service changes their terms and you don’t like it, delete your account from that service.
And finally, Peter Shankman (social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and customer service expert), states:
‘Don’t want a social media site to do whatever they want with your content? Don’t post your content on a social media site’.
So clean up your social media content before posting your résumé and applying for jobs.