Job Search Tools: Online Visibility Management

Along with other people in my profession, I’ve been telling clients, blog/Facebook followers and a lot of other individuals they need to make online presence a part of their ongoing career management, with particular attention paid when they’re preparing to launch an active job search. I’ve mainly considered that to mean doing your best to avoid posting or becoming the subject of potentially negative items online while also developing and maintaining an active, positive presence on the Internet.

A recent article I read online gives more emphasis to this subject. The article, “Social Media and the Job Hunt: Squeaky-Clean Profiles Need Not Apply,” cites comments by Joshua Waldman, a careers expert who’s an expert on using social media in job searching, and by James Alexander, CEO of Vizibility, an online reputation management company. Although they address slightly different aspects of the situation, they both make points you might want to keep in mind.

“Public Private” Concept for Online Visibility

Although we’ve cautioned people to make their online presence very professional, it now appears that trying to scrub all personal aspects out of places like Facebook could boomerang by making you something of a non-person (no personality at all). According to the article, it could even torpedo your chances of being hired. Waldman’s suggestion for dealing with such possibilities is to view yourself similarly to TV or radio show hosts. He says, “They’re talking about personal details of their lives in a very public way. These details are important because they make themselves seem accessible to listeners but they’re definitely not deep secrets or potentially embarrassing.”

In other words, you should “aim to post something publicly private to the social graph at least once a week….” That’s one way to keep yourself visible in a positive way.

An Online Reputation Job Search Tool provides another way of dealing with your online presence before, during and after an active job search. It “helps individuals curate [edit], package and distribute their social presence…through links or QR codes on business cards resumes and email signatures.” Alexander’s take on the situation is that you need to be prepared for people checking you out through online searching. Vizibility offers a function that lets you choose your “Top 5” Google links and “create a specialized query for potential employers.”

Does this mean employers can’t or won’t search elsewhere to find information about you? It’s hard to say for sure, but there’s certainly nothing stopping them from doing that. After all, they probably know you’re not going to provide them with links that will reveal bad things about you. That would be like providing negative references for a prospective employer to check! However, if you can at least get them to glance at the good stuff first, you might be a bit ahead of the game, and any advantage you can legitimately gain is worth trying.

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