Cleaning Up Your Online Persona

How to Clean Up Your Online Persona

In this article, we’re going to discuss what you need to do to make sure that your Internet presence doesn’t keep you from getting an interview. While the Internet can definitely help accelerate the process of getting a job and establishing credibility, it also has a downside. Many of us grew up with at least some presence on the Internet during our “less prudent” years. The younger you were when the Internet became commonplace, the more likely it is that you have said or done something foolish that is forever recorded there.

Some Examples

It’s very easy to use the Internet badly and have that come back to bite you later. The following are some pretty simple things that can make you look bad to a potential employer. While some of these don’t sound like things that would cause a problem, they can work to your disadvantage in a number of ways.

  • Forum posts made under your real name and containing inappropriate material. This can be language, pictures, or even heated arguments. While you probably have enough sense not to do this kind of thing in a work environment, the employer has no way of knowing that.
  • Forum posts of an innocuous nature in groups that are no longer considered innocuous.
  • Microfiches and older nondigital materials being brought online. This process is ongoing and can result in all kinds of fun stuff showing up in searches.
  • Public , openly available social media posts of the same nature. While social media accounts are private to varying degrees, if they can be found through a search engine, they will be. If there is anything negative in there, it can be used against you.
  • Publicly available criminal records, court proceedings, and interviews with media. If you have a criminal background, it may be harder to get a job, simply because it will show up in a Google search. The same can be true of messy legal battles or interviews with the media where you are quoted by a journalist (if negative).
  • Negative posts by other people that have your name in them. Unfortunately, we can’t control what our friends (or enemies) do. Sometimes other people create situations that are difficult to handle, publicly available, and preserved forever on the Internet. Worse still, these aren’t youthful indiscretions that go away once cleaned up. People can cause you problems at any time.
  • Results of data breaches of private information coming online. This can be everything from credit card information, to the contents of private forums, to membership details from sketchy sites.
  • People with the same name can also do things that you probably don’t want to have on the first page of search results. For instance, someone with the name “William Gant” has been convicted of assault in various places, while another William Gant is a politician in Louisiana. Still another was a guy that got murdered in the TV series The Wire. Then there is my own father, who uses his middle name, which he shares with an uncle who was a casualty of World War II, as well as a guy who died in a carjacking. In other words, you are not at all safe assuming that search results for your name are all about you.
  • Your name, forum posts, and other information you reveal online can assist someone in discriminating against you and not getting caught. For instance, your last name may indicate your ethnic background, possibly including your country of origin and religion. Posts about your hobbies may indicate your political affiliation, social class, medical issues, and even your temperament. For instance, people will have vastly different expectations of someone who trains in combative martial arts, hunting, and weightlifting compared to someone who meditates heavily, enjoys video games, and loves to cook. All six of the items listed apply to me, but I would rather reveal them selectively to a potential employer. It’s better to control this if possible.

When you have finished cleaning up your online persona it is time for you to find a job. The best way to get a job is to use Resume Cheetah. With Resume Cheetah you save time because they do all the work for you. They go out and apply for jobs on your behalf which allows you to spend time doing other things. Also, they are experts so they are experienced in finding jobs for individuals. See how Resume Cheetah can help you.