What does your online profile say about you?

The internet has wielded some significant changes. We now work, socialise and shop online. A feature of our internet use, however, is that much of what we do, upload or say online is open and viewable to the rest of the world. Which means the more we use the internet the more of an online profile we build. This is particularly true when it comes to social networking sites, which allow us to upload photos, videos and endless streams of thoughts and conversations with our friends and millions of other internet users.

This public reputation, however, can throw a spanner in the works when it comes to the job hunting process. What will a prospective employee think when they see that video from you on Spring Break, or your status updates lamenting your hangover from the weekend? Whether you’re looking for law jobs in Sydney or London, and regardless of whether you’re being recruited or applying for jobs online, law firms and employers today will likely get their recruitment staff to investigate your online reputation.

It’s now more important than ever for a prospective employer to find a clean and professional image of you online, should they look. We’ve all heard the horror stories about employers finding status updates criticising the boss or pictures of their staff engaging in indecent behavior and then being fired. If you’re looking for legal jobs then don’t fall into this trap!

–          Clean up your online profile. Do your own research and type your name into search engines and see what comes up. Should there be anything potentially indiscreet or damaging that you can remove, then do so. Although Facebook, Twitter and MySpace accounts have privacy settings, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re activated and clear these social networking profiles of any potentially damaging material. A good way to start is to review any pictures or videos of you one these platforms. Cleaning up your profile doesn’t have to mean making it boring. Just remove anything that could damage an employee’s confidence in your ability to do the job.

–          Build a professional profile. Should there be material online that is not in your power to remove, then professional profiles such as LinkedIn that outline your professional qualifications and history will help boost your online reputation. Google ranks LinkedIn profiles quite highly, so it is probable that this profile will pop up before any other social networking activity. Having a LinkedIn profile will also show to an employee that you are serious about your career and your skill base as an employee.

–          Monitor your activity. Once you’ve cleaned up your online profile, make sure you continue to monitor it and be deliberate and thoughtful when conducting activities on line. Remember, it’s much easier to click a mouse or type a word than it is to erase the internet’s memory of it. 

What you do online can play a role in whether or not your get hired. If something an employer finds online raises any doubt over your professional behavior or your ability to carry out a role, then you may not get hired. If you’re starting the job hunt in the law industry, then make sure you clean up and monitor your online reputation and profile.

What does your online profile say about you?

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