3 Steps to Stop Online Reputation Problems from Ruining Your Job Search
Most small companies can’t afford to do extensive background checks when they hire security guards. As long as you’re able-bodied, have a valid guard card, and can pass a drug test, you’re usually good to go.
But for the well-paid or high-profile security jobs, the ones that are most desirable, companies dig deep to make sure they hire the right people. And that’s when web and social media searches come into play.
If you ever hope to…
- move beyond an entry-level guard job,
- work for a mid- to large-sized security company, or
- get hired as a professional body guard
…you need to think about how to handle your online reputation.
What follows are three steps you can take to ensure the internet version of you doesn’t limit your chances of getting the security job you’ve always wanted.
Step 1: Deal with what’s already out there
The internet is like an elephant. It never forgets… no matter how much we want it to. You need to be prepared to manage any questions an interviewer might have about information that could be found from a web search.
The trick? Do a search yourself and see what’s out there. Look for your name and location in Google as well as on any social media sites where you have a profile. Also search for keywords that appear on your resume or security job application, such as the names of previous employers and schools you attended.
If you come across anything that makes you look irresponsible or untrustworthy:
- Ask that it be removed if you know the person who posted it, or
- Be able to explain to an interviewer what happened and how you’ve changed since that experience.
Step 2: Prep your social media profiles
The easiest way to make sure your private social media interactions stay private is to set your account to “Private” or “Friends Only”. This can be done through the privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, and most other social media sites.
Alternatively, you could create “professional” profiles that are separate from your personal ones. Be sure to limit interactions to those you wouldn’t mind a potential employer seeing on your resume.
If all of that seems like too much work, at least remove any incriminating photos (i.e. those that show drug or alcohol use or anything inappropriate) until after your job search is over.
Step 3: Think before you post or upload anything else
Everyone makes mistakes. You do something in the spur of the moment and don’t think about the consequences. This is especially true when it comes to managing your online reputation. Since it’s usually only important during the short time you’re on the hunt for a security job, it’s easy to forget how certain posts or photos might look to someone outside your circle of friends.
The solution is simple… Stop. Think. Then post.
Online reputation management isn’t hard. Just take a minute to consider what you’re sharing with the world before you share it. After you land the security job of your dreams, you’ll be thankful you took the time.