It’s never too late to start thinking about how you might be profiled online by employer’s HR managers or future bosses who are doing more than just standard background checks. At the very least, your employer will be inputting your name on Google and taking a quick browse through all the major social media links to see if they can glean any useful information off of your recent posts. In some cases, companies have special 

tools or 3rd party options that will look for keywords and/or pictures that may be considered “red flag” material. We’ve seen this in action. It really happens.

Whilst there might already be material on the web already, it’s not too late to change what pops up on page one of a google search – and played well this is a golden opportunity to position yourself above most other applicants.

Hide your Profiles

Facebook doesn’t have to be an all or nothing platform for sharing your personal life online. Set your privacy settings to share with only those you trust the most. If you don’t want a giant archive of all your posts out there for any nosy profilers out there looking for your old dirty, then limit old posts from displaying on your timeline.

Want to make it harder for them to find embarrassing photos? Untag yourself from any photo to prevent them from searching under your name. Now, to make things easier going forward, change the setting that forces all tagged pictures from friends to be hidden from your timeline, unless you give permission.

Write your Story

If you really want to control the narrative and shape your online footprint for prospective employment, you can make sure all the top search results are filled with positive, work-centric content. To do this, you can pepper in articles, photos, and commentary based on the industry that you are trying to find employment in. Don’t make the pandering too obvious, just enough to impress whomever is searching your profiles.

This is not something you are required to do, of course, if you don’t feel comfortable turning into a “tool” to all your friends and family online, then don’t do it. Just keep your profiles private and try to avoid prejudice altogether.

Personal SEO

You can still make a positive mark on your Google search results, though, without opening your social accounts to the public. By posting on sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, or popular message boards (i.e. legal forums, business forums, etc.), you can leave your footprints that will show you are knowledgeable and professional online. This is especially useful for those who have some

unflattering links that show up when they Google their name. Theoretically, you could push those links down and bury them past the first page, which is as far as any profile search will go.

These are great ways to counter the dig for dirt on job applicants. It’s invasive, but it’s unavoidable in the internet age that we live in. As long as the job market stays extremely saturated with applicants, employers will use this opportunity to cherry-pick those they deem a personal fit.