Online Privacy: How to Protect Your Public Reputation

online privacyWhat are you doing to protect your online privacy and reputation on social media? What steps or precautions do you take to ensure your social media profiles reflect the best information about you?

Whether you are actively or passively job hunting, your reputation on social media is being assessed. So, in order to gain attention and stand out (for the right reasons), carefully consider what you share on social media.

Let’s look at JDP’s findings from “How Job Seekers Curate Their Social Presence.” By the way, JDP provides employee background screenings and their study surveyed 2,007 US workers in July 2019.

As you look at the findings, I hope you will be thinking of new ways to highlight your positive attributes and successes where ever you are active on social media.

Social Media Is Used By Employers and Recruiters

The survey reports that 84% of users believe social media regularly impacts hiring decisions. They are correct.

In fact, in 2018, a CareerBuilder report found that 70% of recruiters use social media to evaluate candidates. And of those recruiters, 57% found content that caused them not to hire candidates.

You’re not alone if you think this is an invasion of your online privacy. 50% of the JPN respondents also said they didn’t think employers should be able to look at candidates’ social media.

However, the reality is, your information is out there. So you have several choices.

  1. Clean it up
  2. Use social media to your advantage
  3. Lock it down

But here’s the rub. 47% of HR/recruiters say that if they can’t find a job candidate online, they are less likely to call that person in for an interview, according to that CareerBuilder study.

Online Privacy Settings ON

  • 43% enable online privacy settings to keep material hidden from current employers and future social media screenings.

TIP: The majority of social media users do not adjust their online privacy settings. Become familiar with settings, be very aware of what you share and know who is in your network.

Google Yourself

46% searched for their names in Google, Bing or some other search engine which resulted in their hiding incriminating social media posts.

TIP: Recruiters/HR will search for your name too, so take proactive steps to clean up what they’ll find, especially on page 1 of search results. For more help, check out Job Seeker: Get On Page One

Actions Taken For Online Privacy

In order to keep your private life private what do you do? Here are several steps the study points out:

  • 50% removed old profiles or posts to protect professional reputation
    • And 66% were more likely to do so on Facebook
  • 1 out of 3 refuse to connect with co-workers on social media

Social Media Platforms Considered Private

When asked which social media platforms users thought should be off-limits to employers (aka private) this shows that Facebook is in top place.

  • Facebook – 45%
  • Twitter – 35%
  • Reddit – 33%
  • Instagram – 28%
  • Personal website – 27%
  • YouTube – 16%
  • LinkedIn – 9%

And as a result, some found a work-around. 27% created an alias Facebook profile.

Self Promotion

Social media platforms help get the word out about you. And little self-promotion never hurt.

  • 25% actively present themselves to attract employers by liking, posting, or following industry-relevant material

And which social media platforms do they choose to self-promote/engage on?

  • LinkedIn – 32%
  • Facebook – 26%
  • Twitter – 19%
  • Instagram – 16%
  • YouTube – 6%

TIP: If you haven’t thought about engaging with industry profiles/material or target company updates, this would be an easy way to stand out since so few users take this approach.


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Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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