Protecting your Web Presence

by Kristy Amburgey

Have you reviewed your web presence to know what employers could see?  As the Internet continues to be a key job search resource and now a marketing tool, candidates must be aware of what the Internet reveals about them.  Go to any search engine and look up your name, username, email and phone number.  Look at the information that appears about you.  What could an employer assume about you from what they read and see?

Regardless of what you feel should be off-limits to employers, you need to consider what your Internet presence says about you.  There are some federal and state regulations (discrimination laws, state privacy laws) that may protect you from unfair hiring practices, but there has been little legal precedent set on the use of a candidate’s online presence for hiring purposes, especially with the use of social networking sites. Considering that recent numbers show that at least 50% of hiring managers determine if a personality is a fit based on the individual’s social media presence, it is critical for you to have a strong foothold on your online reputation.

Here are some best practices when building and reviewing your web presence:

  • Review what is available online to employers; set privacy settings for social networking sites and ensure that pictures and writing are appropriate for a wide viewing audience
  • If you find information attributed to you but not yours, contact the group holding the information to ask them to remove it
  • Avoid writing negative information about your previous employers, co-workers or bosses; don’t post information that your former or current employer considers confidential
  • Consider your private “after work” life as fair game when it comes to what is seen or read online; review what friends may post to your online presence and don’t be afraid to ask them to edit out details you don’t want shared
  • Ensure that information on the resume you send to companies matches what is found in a web search
  • Blogs are most often considered public domain, and the information you post may not be protected by laws or regulations; also remember that comments you post about articles and other blogs may come up in a search, which could be an advantage if you use professional, well-written comments

Information summarized from a presentation given by Jared Callahan, an investigator for Employment Screening Resources. 

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

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