Control Your First Impression: Tips to Tidy Up Your Online Presence for a Successful Job Search

The clock strikes midnight, the calendar flips, and it’s January 1st – Happy New Year! As you cheer excitedly about the fresh start and new possibilities ahead, don’t forget one crucial area for your resolutions: your online presence.

In today’s digital age, potential employers will almost certainly google your name and scan your social media. An unkempt online presence can torpedo a job search before it even begins. Take control of that first impression and set yourself up for job search success with these cleaning tips:

Ask Yourself: What Would a Recruiter See?

Start by googling yourself and clicking through your various social media accounts. Take an objective look through the eyes of a recruiter. Does your online personality match who you are as a professional? Do your photos, posts, and information convey someone who is job-ready?

Delete Old Posts and Photos

Comb through years of social media posts with a critical eye. Delete anything that could be considered unprofessional, controversial, or inappropriate. Remember, even old posts can come back to haunt you. Do a deep cleanse to present your best self.

Set Social Media to Private

Adjust your social media settings to private so only approved connections can see posts. This gives you added control over how recruiters perceive you. You can still keep profiles public like LinkedIn since it is a professional platform.

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Spend time bolstering your LinkedIn presence with new skills, projects, and achievements from 2022. Craft an engaging headline and summary that speaks to your personal brand. Include leadership experiences like volunteer work. Showcase awards and certifications. A polished, detailed profile conveys professionalism.

Google Yourself

Search your own name in Google to see what comes up. Claim and optimize any listings like websites or citations that you control. For other unflattering results, you can push them down in the rankings by creating positive new content about yourself online.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

Set Google Alerts on your name so you are notified of any new search results. Also, install a social media monitoring app to regularly review what people see about you online. Ongoing monitoring allows you to immediately address anything that crops up.

Armed with these cleaning tips, you can freshen up your online presence for a new year and new job search. A tidy online image helps make that critical first impression a positive one with recruiters. So roll up those sleeves, get scrubbing, and you’ll be web-search ready in no time. Happy New Year and happy job hunting!

How far back should I delete old social media posts for a job search?

Go back at least 3-5 years and delete or hide any posts that could be viewed as unprofessional. Employers may look at your recent history but old posts can still resurface.

I have a common name that brings up undesirable search results - how can I manage this?

Create new positive content about yourself such as a LinkedIn profile, website, or published articles that rank well in Google. Also use your middle initial/name to differentiate yourself.

I want to make my social media accounts private but still allow professional connections - what should I do?

Use privacy settings to restrict posts to friends only. On sites like LinkedIn, you can customize visibility so anyone can see your profile and key info but not personal posts.