The do’s and don’ts of building your online presence
One quick google of the phrase ‘online presence’ will tell you all you need to know about its importance to both individuals and businesses nowadays. Half of the results are companies specializing in boosting and managing the online presence of other businesses. The other half are articles like this one telling you how important it is to take care of your online presence.
We are constantly told that we live in the ‘digital age’ and to be careful with what we put online. But what does that really mean?
Essentially there are two main areas you should be focusing on when considering your online presence: your work life and your personal life. Addressing the way you present yourself in these areas can make a big difference in the way you appear online. The aim here is to ensure that your online presence reflects you as accurately as possible, both personally and professionally.
Something we have touched upon in a few articles recently is self-assessment. You need to be able to look at yourself objectively and consider how people view you. This becomes increasingly important when looking at your online presence.
Below are a few steps you can follow to address the appearance of your personal life online:
- Look back at your public profiles online and consider what a potential employer might find if they were to simply google you. The easiest way to do this is to go incognito and essentially stalk yourself and see what you can find.
- In the world of ‘cancel culture’, we all have problematic tweets, statuses, and posts from across the years that we don’t want seen. Delete them or go private.
- Even if your own social media is private, see if there are any photos of you on a friend’s public profile that perhaps you don’t want to be seen, and ask them to take them down.
- If you find photos of regrettable decisions that are actually great memories, save them, archive them, then take them down.
- If you run a public account for a purpose, such as a political blog or a fan account on Instagram, you need to seriously address whether it benefits you or puts you at a disadvantage for the career you want, and prioritize accordingly.
Looking into your personal life can often be a rather negative experience. It can often feel like you are hiding aspects of your personality for the benefit of a potential employer you may not have even met yet.
However, considering how you present your professional life online can be a great chance to show off your skills:
- Any work you have produced that is present online and not on your CV or portfolio should be, and vice versa
- Keep your LinkedIn and Facebook updated so that a quick google can back up any claims you make in your CV regarding education or previous workplaces
- If you work freelance or not, make sure that any online published work is easily followed back to you
- If you’ve done something you are proud of and it can be found online, make sure it can be found easily
- This is your chance to make sure that everything you are proud of is visible to a potential employer, even from a quick search
Essentially the goal is to build your online presence into a representation of the kind of person you would want an employer to see. Keep those less professional moments for you and your close friends. Build an online portfolio that matches your CV. Hiring managers want to see a well-rounded person who will get the job done and be a valuable member of the team. Anyone having a quick look should see that you are a functioning human being who isn’t going to burn their company to the ground.