Whether or not you are currently in the market looking for a new job, the proliferation of digital media means that managing you online persona is not as simple as it once was when you relied on good old printed resumes sent through the post. Today access to social media platforms through smartphones, laptops and tablets means that individuals are posting status updates and geographic information, tweeting and loading photos with greater speed and repetition. Even when they are not posting about themselves, there is a good chance your friends or colleagues are doing it for you.
What this means is that the internet has become a veritable smorgasbord for future employers who are looking for background information on you before selecting you for a position. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Does anything on your profile embarrass you or put you in a bad light in front of a potential employer?
If the answer is yes, then chances are you should spend some time 'sanitizing' your social media accounts to ensure that should an employer come knocking, you are not scrambling to put your best foot forward. However, that aside, there are a few other tips you may wish to consider in managing your online profile.
Remember your online profile is more than social media
Many people - incorrectly - assume that an online profile refers to your social media accounts and what you do on them. Whilst social media is perhaps the most visible aspect of your presence online, it is not the only part of your profile.
When a prospective employer enters your name in a search engine, wouldn't it be nice for your name to come up as an author for an online journal, or a contributing blogger for a publication. Links to articles you have written show that you take part in conversations and look to provide strong, well-researched opinion to others. It also goes a long way to showing you are an expert in your field and that you have opinions others are interested in.
Identify what you are good at doing, then sit down and write a couple of blogs on this topic. Review them carefully and then speak with a relevant publication about being a guest blogger for them. Submit your articles to them as proof of what you can write and presto, you have taken steps towards professionalising your career and your online persona.
Maintain your LinkedIn Profile
If you do not have a LinkedIn profile you are missing a great opportunity to present your professional persona in a favourable light. LinkedIn allows you to promote yourself in a professional sense, to a network of like-minded individuals and allows others to view your profile. It is a valuable opportunity and tool for you to use when managing your profile as you can add detail into this which you may not add in your Resume, allowing you to therefore impart more detail.
Change your Social Media Settings
Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have privacy settings which allow you to restrict access to those you have not approved as friends or associates. Above and beyond the security implications of not locking your profile down, look to restrict access to your social media profiles. Furthermore, Facebook now allows users to select a setting which allows them the right to approve photo's going live on the site which are tagged with them in it. Look in your settings to find out more.
At the end of the day, as with all things in life, moderation is key! Don't clean your online profile up so completely that you come across as a completely sanitized individual with no personality. Make sure you are honest but treat your profile online as you would want others to do with your reputation in the real world: with respect. Oh and if you think abstaining from all online activity is the solution, think twice as no information in today's "Information Age" will not reflect kindly on you either.