Does my online presence matter to employers?

Your online presence includes anything from your social media accounts, to the results shown after searching your name on Google. It provides information about your professional and personal life. Make sure that it is appropriate for all audiences.

Given that you can use social media to help you in your job search, you should make sure that your online presence is appropriate for both personal and professional environments. Inappropriate photos or comments can harm your personal brand (the image and personal traits that identify you) and impact your chances of getting a job or a promotion.

You can make sure you have a good online presence by following the tips below.

Search yourself on Google

You can find out what others can see when they search your name by simply doing a Google search.  If you have different names, or you assumed someone else’s name, make sure to search for all the variations. Some information may be linked to your previous name or your nickname.

When you do a google search, look through the different pages. Often the first page results show links to your social media profiles, but if you have ever appeared in the news or you published any work, this information might appear in other search pages. If others have shared photos of you or other information that is linked to your name, this may also appear in later search pages.

Adjust your privacy settings on social media

While you may not find any information that you think is inappropriate, you may also want to protect the privacy of your personal and social life. For example, you may want to keep your vacation pictures private.

In this case, you can adjust your privacy settings on the various social media platforms. All platforms share similar options when it comes to privacy. In general, you can choose whether:

  • only you can see your information and what you share,
  • your profile and what you share is visible to your friends,
  • your profile and what you share is visible to everyone.

Delete anything you think is inappropriate

If in your search you find something that you are not comfortable with, you can also follow the link to the photo or information and delete it. If someone else published this information, you can ask them to remove it. Deleting it is the safest way to ensure that no one will see it.  

As you do this, you can also think of ways you can improve your online presence for employers. For example, you can improve your LinkedIn profile to build more connections and get noticed by employers and recruiters.

For More Information

  • Social Networking – Information about social networking and your privacy. From the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
  • Your Online Presence – Tips on how to make sure you have a good online presence. From the University of Brighton.
Last updated: December 1, 2016 4006181