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4 Tips for Avoiding Self - Sabotage Online

by ​Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn

The last 10 years have fundamentally changed how we look for work, more so than any time in the previous 100 years. In the early 1900s many people were still born into jobs — farmers, fishermen, shop owners and small family business. During WWII women entered the workforce to support the war efforts. After WWII the job market grew rapidly and if you had the right skills, such as a trade, you could walk onto the job without an interview or even a formal resume. At this time there was an increased demand for goods and a large number of job opportunities, creating a huge demand for employees. Jobseekers did not have to do very much to market their skills to employers; in fact employers often came to them. It was a very different time compared to today’s connected world.

Today, everyone has to market his or her skills to employers. Cover letters, resumes, interviews, and even our social media accounts are finely tuned self-marketing material. This change has made new tools an important part of looking for work. Employers screen potential employees’ social media accounts, which means that employers may have an eye on you before you realize it. A job seeker needs to be diligent and aware of developing a strong, professional, online presence. It has never been more important to manage your digital footprint.

A digital footprint is anything that you post, or is posted about you, on the Internet. This includes social media sites such as: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. In other words, it is an online, searchable collection of your actions. The Internet can seem like a big anonymous place, yet even small amounts of information about you online can be quite easy to find through a Google search. Unfortunately, many people learn how to manage their digital footprint only after they lose employment or an employment opportunity because of their actions online. Technology has changed the world, are you prepared for its impact on your job search?

Here are four tips to make sure potential employers see the best of you online:

Protect your privacy. Ensure your settings on social media accounts are secure. Share information with only your close friends. And, check the settings often, as many sites periodically update how they work.

Mind your manners. Remember the golden rule; treat others as you wish to be treated. You never know who may read or see content that shows up under a search of your name. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother reading what you say online, reconsider posting it.
Avoid posting photographs that would leave an employer questioning your professionalism and ask friends to remove inappropriate content of you.

Use LinkedIn as your main social media source for employment search. A well-developed profile will rank high in a Google search, and will be the first thing about you seen by employers. Quickly respond to requests from potential employers.
If you are unsure how to build a strong online presence – your digital footprint – feel free to contact our Online Employment Counsellor or drop into one of our three Resource Centres located in Cambridge, Kitchener and Guelph. We also offer two LinkedIn workshops on a monthly basis at each site.

This month our three locations will be offering you the opportunity to have a professional photo taken for use on your social media accounts. You will also be able to meet with our Online Employment Advisor for a quick overview and critique of your existing LinkedIn account. Please call to register for this exciting event.