10 Online Reputation Management Tips for Job Seekers

Don't let questionable Facebook photos or Tweets, a bare-bones LinkedIn profile or negative posts beyond your control derail an otherwise smooth job interview process. Use these 10 tips to improve your personal Google search results and help land the job you want.

By James A. Martin
Tue, July 17, 2012

CIO — You're about to interview for a new job. You've polished your resume and crafted the perfect cover letter. You've got your references and talking points all lined up.

But have you Googled yourself lately?

Many job candidates spend hours preparing for an important interview, but they fail to pay attention to their "online resume," or how they're reflected in the top 10 Google search results, says Andy Beal, CEO of Trackur, a social media monitoring company.

It's a given these days that an employer will Google any serious candidate and look at their first page of search results. "As an employer myself, I dont really do background checks anymore," Beal says. "Instead, I Google candidates to see what shows up."

Looking great on Google can take time and effort—and it's never too early to get started. Here are 10 online reputation management tips to help you put your best foot forward online.

1. Be Careful What You Share Online.

The search engines are digging deeper into Facebook, Twitter and other information sharing services to index as much relevant content as possible about people, places and things, Beal notes. "Personal information, such as your birth date and year, can easily bubble up to the surface of search results when you least expect it," he says.

For example, a Hollywood producer suddenly discovered that his year of birth was showing up in his brief bio that Google recently began displaying to the right of his search results. (As part of Google's recent Knowledge Graph rollout, the search engine now displays brief bios of noted people next to their search results.) The producer is facing age discrimination and wants to get the year of birth removed from his mini Google bio but has not yet been successful.

"Once a cat like that is out of the bag, it's hard to put it back in," Beal says. "It becomes a matter of public record. That's why I counsel everyone to never [list] your date of birth or anything else you don't want to end up all over the Internet. If nothing else, the more information someone can piece together about you, the greater the potential for identity theft."

News: Facebook Warns Employers Not to Ask Job Applicants for Log-in Credentials

As always, don't post photos of yourself on Facebook partying wildly or doing something you wouldn't want potential employers to see. Of course, you can restrict your Facebook content to friends and friends of friends, as well as only allow invited people to view your tweets. However, privacy settings seemingly change all the time, so it still pays to err on the side of caution. Plus, there have been accounts of job candidates being asked to log into their Facebook accounts during an interview with potential bosses, Beal notes.

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