Individual, Industry, Membership, News, Professional Development

How Your Online Profile Affects Your Employment


Words: Angelique Lele, Operations Manager, Sportspeople

More than a quarter of employers use social media to check out potential new hires, and Facebook is the site of choice, according to survey findings from Telstra.

The poll of 1,255 employers found that one in four respondents screened candidates' profiles on social networking sites. The most popular tool for background-checking candidates was Facebook (41%), followed by LinkedIn (31%) and Twitter (14%). Some 44% of employers said an applicant who posted derogatory comments about their current workplace was unlikely to be hired, followed by discriminatory comments (37%) and posts with confidential information (32%).

Sportspeople raised this issue last year after I was talking to a group of students at a University and was surprised about the lack of awareness they had around what their online footprint can say about them.

It may sound a bit egocentric; however searching for yourself on Google can be a wise career move. Your Facebook profile may be set to "private", however that drunken profile picture may still be visible to potential employers who are increasingly utilising the internet to do background checks on potential employees. Of course this could also work in your favour if you have appealing and professional results.

Sportspeople scans social media profiles and undertakes a web search for candidates we are considering referring to a client. This is standard practice in 2015, so you should expect every employer (and potential employer) to be doing the same.

Here are some tips to improve your online profile:

  • Set your Social Networking profiles (Facebook, Instagram etc.) to "private" and remove any incriminating photos
  • Create and manage a blog, or a professional LinkedIn profile, as search engines rank those extremely highly, which helps guarantee your site ends up on the first page of search results
  • Remember that many posts online are permanent or very difficult to remove, so be thoughtful when you decide to post online (e.g. comment in an online forum)
  • Be prepared to answer to any incriminating information that can be found
  • Search your name in combinations. Your profile may disappear amongst all the other John Smiths', however if searched with the name of a previous employer/school/hobby then you might become more visible

Sportspeople is a Vicsport preferred supplier. Their Career Centre has additional resources for professionals and jobseekers.

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