Google me, maybe?
Googling oneself can accomplish more than a few chuckles and some wasted time—it can be a boon to job hunters.
The idea that a job seeker’s online presence can affect his or her chances of landing a job interview—and perhaps, securing a job—is a reality in today’s job market.
According to Jill Nikiforuk, a career consultant with AveNew Career Consulting, company recruiters and hiring managers often check on a job applicant’s online presence when making their hiring decisions because this online presence is essentially a job seeker’s personal brand.
Nikiforuk advised that, “Job seekers must consider how they are marketing themselves through social media.”
In other words, job-hunting students should be conscientious of their tweets and online posts—whether they are posted through blogs or Facebook—and these should then be tailored to their specific job search goals.
One step in the right direction of cleaning up and maturing your online presence is to plug your name into any online search engine to take a gander at what sorts of skeletons may be lying in your cyber closets.
Nikiforuk explained that this will help to put into perspective the information that is viewable by prospective employers and may even give you a chance to control the situation, should your search yield any questionable content.
First-year power engineering student Owen Csatari likened Facebook to a “big room with all of your friends and family,” in the sense that others can interact with and view users’ online information at their leisure.
While this may be acceptable for those near and dear to him, Csatari said that it would be “pretty crass” for an employer to go to such an extent to scope out his online life.
Though he has not yet taken such steps to alter the information that is available to internet-savvy employers, Csatari said that he will “take care to protect myself and my information,” by means of altering his profile’s privacy settings.
As for the rest of the online search results when his name is Googled, he said that he cannot control the random videos people have posted of him and that they should have no bearing on his employment chances.
“You should be judged on your academic achievements and qualifications and nothing else,” he said. “I think it’d be unsavoury on the employer’s part if they stalked me and didn’t give me a job because of what they found.”
Another tip provided by Nikiforuk is to create a professional email address that is neutral-sounding. Using a juvenile email such as firstname.lastname@example.org may conjure up a negative image in the minds of employers, and may give off the impression of a lack of qualifications.
To avoid this unfair bias, she suggests sticking to emails that simply identify who a job applicant is. The trick, she said, is to avoid being judged before you get the chance to “sell yourself in the interview.”
Allyson Seymour is a recent University of Calgary graduate currently on the market for a job suited to her Bachelor of Sciences degree.
While she still uses her email address from junior high, she is considering creating a professional account because she doesn’t want it to “interfere with anything job-related.”
As a rule, she maintains a basic level of online privacy so that she can better separate her personal life from her life as a fledgling professional, and advised that others do the same.
“This is your career and you want to make yourself seem as prepared, professional and qualified as possible,” she said. “Once something’s out there on the Internet, it’s kind of hard to retract it, so why not control it when you can?”
For any job-seeking Albertan over the age of 18, free assistance is provided by Bow Valley College’s Career Connection, which can be accessed through www.mycareerconnection.ca.