Cut to 2004: I was just entering college, and signed up for the greatest procrastination tool ever made: Facebook. Pictures were tagged, messages were posted, and thus began my dominant online presence: a 19-year-old who was discovering college life. Probably not the greatest first impression. But I wasn’t thinking of employers at that point.
A few years later, I wised up to something called privacy settings, and realized that impending internship dreams could be smashed before I even started interviewing. At that point, I took my own career advice and began to control my online presence.
Career Advice for Managing Your Online Presence and Social Profile
To this day, my Facebook page remains a page for real-life friends only- only ex-coworkers make the cut. I also have it set so that only I can see the 2,500+ pictures tagged of me. Plus, my profile isn’t included in Google search results. I feel like it’s for the best.
But Facebook even keeps comments that I posted in funny groups that I joined five years ago. And I just discovered that deep into Google search results, those posts are there, with my name on them. I’ve since deleted them, but Google’s cache hasn’t.
Another thing I’ve done to monitor my online presence is claim my domain name. It’s simply a portal to my other sites on the web, but if my name is Googled, it will always the #1 result that comes up. The more control you have over your name, the better. And it’s only $9.99 a year, so it’s worth it.
Aside from race results, my music, and career-related posts, all that is there are annoying aggregate sites, which comb the web for your data and post it without your knowledge. But there’s no address or phone number or anything like that listed for me, so I’m okay. I still Google myself once a week, just to make sure nothing weird seeps through into my name. If you have a name like John Smith, granted it’s harder to control.
Reveal enough about yourself so that employers know you’re connected and smart, but beware of TMI (too much information)- it could be unsafe for you, personally and professionally.