When researching potential monitoring and evaluation experts, recruiters, or hiring managers look at a lot more than resumes and cover letters. They also look at social media—to find out how you present yourself, how others perceive you, and how well you might fit with their culture. That’s why it’s important to create an employer-friendly digital footprint—and even more important if you’re a young evaluator who uses social media frequently.
But no matter where you are in your evaluation career, to get to the next step you’ll need to clean up your social media presence and create a professional digital footprint.
In this article, we will show you how to check your online presence before recruiters look you up. We will also show you how to clean up your social media and online space before a job search.
Ready to learn? Then let’s dive in!
Google Yourself #
At one point or another, we’ve all allowed curiosity to get the best of us and Googled ourselves.
For the monitoring and evaluation experts, the online presence in the EvalCommunity International Database of Experts in Monitoring and Evaluation is very important for your visibility to recruiters searching for qualified experts in the database.
The easiest way to determine where you are on the internet is to Google yourself incognito. Some of the top hits are likely to be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.
You’ll probably find that some of the search results don’t apply to you. But it’ll let you know who else shares your name. This is handy for LinkedIn and making sure you’re ahead of the competition.
The important thing to take away from this is how easily you can be found. Plus, how much of your life the internet can expose from this quick search? If there are some things you don’t want anyone to see, let alone recruiters, you need to crack down on privatizing, hiding, and deleting your social media presence.
How to Clean Up Your Social Media Before a Job Search #
Here are four easy ways to clean up your social media before a job search:
#1. Conduct a digital footprint analysis
Before you can take the steps to ensure that your online presence matches up with that of a monitoring and evaluation expert, you must first analyze your current footprint so you know exactly where you stand. Your digital footprint is the collection of all the things you leave behind whenever you use the internet. This includes things like:
- All social media profiles you’ve ever created (and are still online)
- Comments and pictures that you posted (or were mentioned in)
- Groups you’ve joined and online discussions you’ve taken part in
- Cookies that track the websites you visit
- Online shopping you’ve done
- Apps you use
Here’s what you can do to analyze your overall digital image:
- List all the online websites you use repeatedly
- Go through some of the content you post on social media and think about how others might perceive the posts. That is, would an employer (prospective or current) view them favorably or with concern?
- Conduct a search for your name on different search engines and use variations of your name (e.g. full name with and without middle initial, married/maiden names, etc.). Go through the first five pages of the search results. Look at all the information that comes up and determine if there’s anything that might adversely affect your chances of getting hired if a potential employer were to access the information.
#2. Pay attention to your privacy settings
Your next step in controlling your online digital footprint is to pay closer attention to the privacy settings on the websites and social media networks you frequent. The trick is to keep your private life as private as you can. Assume that everything you share could be easily discovered by employers, colleagues, or clients, and limit private comments and posts to only those people with whom you feel safe. Think twice before posting things for the general public to read and maintain professionalism at all times.
#3. Create a positive online persona
Now, it’s time to develop a positive image online. To do this, you’ll have to come up with a strategy that involves the types of websites and social media that you’ll associate yourself with, the type of content you’ll post (including pictures and videos that paint you in the best light possible), and so on. From this point on, you should never post content that may cause a potential employer to question your values or professionalism.
Here are some tips to help you create a powerful online persona:
- Use your real name to create resumes and profiles on websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Indeed, Vault, and other employment sites.
- Maintain consistent information across all sites, including the use of a consistent username on all websites and social media. This will help you develop your personal branding and make it easier for potential employers to recognize you online.
- If possible, it makes sense to create a blog or YouTube channel related to your personal interests or business and publish content that’s professional and highlights your positive aspects. If you decide to go with a YouTube channel, make sure you use a beginner-friendly video editor.
#4. Be active online
The final step in crafting an employer-friendly digital footprint is to get active online so you can start building a well-rounded, professional image to impress your future employer. Social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can provide useful profile information to employers. Your feeds can highlight how you communicate with others, express your opinions, manage your life, etc. Other sites, like LinkedIn, take it a step further by also providing skill endorsements from others as well. Your posts on these social sites offer deeper insights into the way you present yourself to the public, and you can leverage the power of any social media network to carefully build your profile so that it works to your advantage.
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile to Impress Recruiters #
For job seekers and hiring managers, LinkedIn is the go-to platform. So, what are recruiters looking for? See our article “LinkedIn profile tips: from summary & Headline to Images”
The main thing employers look for on LinkedIn is an accurate and complete profile that suggests you’re an M&E evaluator, so make sure dates are correct and that all pertinent work experience is listed, but don’t be too wordy.
- Use bullet points or concise paragraphs to describe your experience.
- Don’t forget to add volunteer and civic roles as well.
- Employers also say it’s best to have a minimum of 300 connections, so beef up your network before beginning the job search.
- Also important for the LinkedIn Profile Tips is to have a professional picture – no selfies or group shots.
Key Takeaway #
Social media is a great way to stay connected, and it can be a powerful tool to help you in your job search as a monitoring and evaluation professional if used correctly. When looking for a job, social media can both help you and potentially hurt you.
If you’re in the market for a new career and actively applying for jobs, it’s important to consider what your online presence says about you.