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Guidance and Counselling Guide: Managing your online identity

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Your Online Presence

Employers are increasingly performing pre-employment background checks of social media. A Microsoft survey of employers in the US found that 79% of employers/recruiters used online information to evaluate job candidates. Taking control of your online presence means taking control of what others find when they search for you online. An online presence that consists of a 15 year old MySpace page, or a selection of your holiday snaps on Facebook, is not going to make a professional first impression. In contrast, a well crafted ePortfolio or online resume creates a positive and professional first impression.

If your social media (Facebook/Twitter/etc) account(s) is your only online identity you might need to rethink how you present yourself online and how you can separate your personal and professional digital selves.

The first step in taking charge of your online presence is finding out what others can find out about you. So try searching for yourself online and see what you can find. Can you find yourself? If not, what additional information do you need to add before you can find yourself (e.g.. location, schooling, etc).

Remember: this is what an employer will see when they Google you.

  • How visible are you?
  • What kind of an impression does the content you find create?
  • Are your social media accounts locked down or visible to all?

Review the privacy features on the websites you use, find out what information is visible to the general public, and evaluate whether this information creates a good impression for potential employers.

Here are some more tips on taking control of your online presence:

  • Use pseudonyms when socialising online
  • Use privacy settings to control what others can find out about you
  • Create an ePortfolio/online resume, or a professional blog/website 

These article contains further information on how to clean-up your online identity.

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