Despite your best efforts to stay “internet savvy” and keep your online persona professional and under control, a few aspects of your profile have gone slightly off the rails. And now that you’re on the job market, it’s time to get these little flubs cleaned up, tucked away, taken down, or overwritten by a flood of positive messages. When you google yourself and skim the search results from a hiring manager’s point of view, you aren’t excited by what you see. So how can you clear away some of this clutter and make sure the internet presents you as the model citizen and reliable go-getter that you are? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

If you don’t have a Linkedin profile, get one.

To be clear: you do not need a Linkedin profile. Nobody does, and social media profiles are by no means a required must-have for most hiring managers. But if you already have some questionable material attached to your name and it won’t be easy to make this material disappear, a Linkedin profile can redirect the attention of anyone trying to learn more about you. Your profile will rise to the top of a list of search results, for starters. And if you keep your photo professional and your work history glowing and accurate, you’ll set the right tone from the start.

Go after negative press with a sense of patience and determination.

If your name appears in a news article from 2007 along with your embarrassing quote, it may not be easy to have this article taken down. But you can try. Contact the organization or webmaster who published this content and make your case. Be polite and respectful, and explain yourself clearly. You may not receive a yes, but you definitely won’t get anywhere if you don’t make an effort.

Lock down your privacy settings.

Go to Facebook and find the “settings” link at the top of your profile. View your profile from the point of view of a stranger, and you’ll see exactly what hiring mangers see as they skim through your timeline. If any photos appear that you’d rather not share, tighten your privacy controls. Keep in mind that you don’t have to “friend” potential employers in order to provide them with access to your information, and you certainly don’t have to share your passwords (In fact, sharing your password violates Facebook’s terms of service. Ignore any employer who makes this request.)

Flood the airwaves.

No matter what you find associated with your name online, you can always expand your footprint and send a loud, positive message starting now. Visit work-related blogs and comment intelligently on industry events. Create a blog of your own and add regular content that highlights your engagement and professional passion. If you don’t have a name for yourself already, make one.

For more on how to keep your online persona professional, positive, and under your own control, contact the job search team at Expert Staffing.

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