By Meg Wallace, Social Media Manager, Passport Career
Social media and the Internet have permeated arguably every facet of our lives. Now that the business world has begun to take advantage of the endless marketing possibilities that the Social media and the Internet bring, both resources should be taken seriously and approached strategically as you seek employment both domestically and abroad.
In many parts of the world, there is a debate about how heavily companies rely on social media and Google searches to parse their initial applicant pool. As a potential candidate for employment, it is best to err on the side of caution. Employers who look you up online are searching not only for your qualifications for the job; they’re also looking for clues that speak to your professional integrity, how you might be a good fit with their company, and how your online presence might impact the company’s image.
Here are 5 tips for cleaning up your online image to help strengthen your global job search!
1. Comply with local societal and business norms
Familiarize yourself with the cultural protocol and business etiquette of your destination country. If you are a Passport Career member, you can find this information in each of the country guides/portfolios. Researching the business etiquette will help you to gain an understanding of what behaviors are acceptable in business and social settings, both online and in person. After completing your research, be sure that your online presence complies with these norms. In particular, pay attention to the communication style. Remember, as a potential employee, you are representing not only yourself, but your company. Companies that are reviewing your profile will be viewing it with this in mind. While the company does not dictate your social life, it is important to respect their values and image when it comes to your online presence.
2. Re-evaluate your email addresses
This is especially important when you are applying for a position online or when using your personal email address to communicate with colleagues or business contacts. You should always have a professional email address that clearly identifies who you are. You want your first impression to reflect clearly on who you are! Often this can be achieved simply by using your first and last name in some combination such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can add a middle initial, or if you add a number, be sure to keep it simple. Remember, your email address is your first impression in online applications and online networking. Your email should also be on your LinkedIn profile.
3. Don’t insult your current or previous organization, clients, or university on social media
These days the internet is an increasingly small world. Your company or prospective employer may not actively follow or monitor your online presence. However, negative comments on Twitter, Google+, Facebook or other sites will make their way back to someone at your company. In the same sense, if you bash or complain online about an organization you are or were affiliated with, prospective employers may find this concerning.
4. Avoid Critical Comments!
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the right to defend it. However, actively seeking to instigate negative or inflammatory discussions might reflect poorly on your online presence—especially in cultures that place a high value on loyalty. You have the right to express yourself, as does everyone else. However, be respectful and mindful of the exchanges you have online and how they may impact your global image in the eyes of a future employer.
5. Engage in Global Groups!
Social media sites help to initiate discussion and conversation. They can help you develop your network around the globe and support your goal to work abroad. Engaging in groups and positive conversations on topics that interest you can help your international job search! For example, if you join a global industry group on LinkedIn or post relevant articles of global interest to Twitter, you are establishing yourself as a knowledgeable professional in your field, regardless of your current location. This can be helpful at any stage in your career. However, it is a strategic approach to your global job search when re-entering the workforce, or as a recent graduate, or someone who has recently relocated to a new country. You never know what opportunities or contacts may arise from these interactions!
Overall, be sure that your online personality and brand reflects who you are as a professional as well as a respectable and trustworthy person. This will positively impact your international job search. Employers will most likely be looking at you online. You want them to be impressed and satisfied in knowing you are someone they can trust in representing their own image.
Want to know more about how to kickstart your career this year?
Passport Career provides more detailed career information and extensive resources about finding a job, internship, or alternative career opportunities. If your organization, embassy, university/college, library or other institution would like to access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 75+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please email email@example.com regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR TRANSITION!