Professionalism 101: how to manage your online reputation

How to manage your online reputation

How do you treat your social media accounts?

Do you look at them as purely social platforms, a place to interact with friends? Or do you view them as more of an online CV that can be used to better your career prospects?

It’s important to know that while social has traditionally been used to connect people on a personal level, more and more employers are turning to social media to screen job candidates. Before you even walk through the door for an interview, your potential employer could have already made their mind up about you based on a quick Google search.

So, what you post today could have big implications down the line for your future self. One bad Facebook post or Insta story could put your chances of landing your dream job or internship in strife.

But on the flip side, showcasing the fact that you’re an interesting, engaged and socially aware individual via social media may just have the opposite effect.

At Charles Sturt University (CSU), we want you to have your best foot forward when it’s time for you to head out into the big wide world. That’s why we’re giving you the lowdown on how to keep your online presence in check while you’re in high school and then uni.

Your online presence can help you GET the job

A lot of emphasis is placed on the negative side of social recruiting, but did you know that your online presence can actually help your chances of being shortlisted by a potential employer?

Employers understand that you’re not a robot – you have a life outside work and it’s important for you to be able to share aspects of your life on social media. In fact, more than 44 per cent of employers have found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate.

While we do advise keeping the majority of your Facebook profile restricted to friends and family, some parts should be public if you’re on the job hunt. It’s thought that up to 70 per cent of employers will look you up on Facey to learn more about you – so you should have some information to show that you’re a normal, real person.

Use the internet to your advantage. Stand out from the crowd in a positive way and showcase your personality. The trick is knowing what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Keep it PG, guys

Speaking of appropriate… we’ve all heard the stories about employees getting the sack because of something questionable they’ve posted on social media. Turns out that posting unsavoury things on social media can not only get you fired, but can prevent you from getting the job in the first place.

The most common content turn-offs for prospective employers are:

  • offensive or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  • information about excessive drinking or drug use
  • discriminatory comments about race, religion, gender, sexuality or disability
  • bad-mouthing your previous company or colleagues
  • poor communication skills.

The most important thing to remember? Keep it clean, guys.

Our top tips to help you master social media

Keen to keep your socials on the straight and narrow, and optimise your chances of landing that dream job? Let CSU’s social media guru Fleur Horsley give you the edge over other candidates.

  1. Maintain a positive online reputation by not posting photos that you wouldn’t like a future employer finding. Regularly ‘clean up’ your social media profiles (including friends and followers) and remove any content that may damage your reputation today or in the future. While it might be funny to weigh in on a controversial topic now, it may not be so funny when your opinion surfaces 10 years later and damages your reputation and job prospects.
  2. Ensure your privacy settings are adequate to protect your data, posts and photos from potential employers. Check your settings regularly so that you can’t be tagged in photos from last week’s uni night.
  3. Create and maintain a LinkedIn account in your first year. Connect with your lecturers and fellow students, as well as industry experts you meet through work placements. List your achievements, work placements and projects. Future employers will look you up when you apply for jobs.
  4. Be proactive and set up a website. Buy your name domain and create a web space to highlight your achievements, projects and experience. Add to it with professional photos and a blog. Creating and maintaining your personal brand allows you to create a strong online presence, which is an advantage in today’s competitive job market.
  5. Google yourself and try to have any negative content removed.

The bottom line?

Think before you post – there’s always someone watching.

Still looking for more ways to manage your online presence? Learn how the power of social media can boost your career from a current CSU student.