Career tips -

The Internet as a career promoter and killer

On the way to the job interview, the Internet can become the promoter and killer of your application. Because personnel managers and recruiters today use web forums, search engines and social networks to find out information about applicants.

The results of online research may well lead to the candidate not receiving an invitation to the interview without ever knowing the reason for the refusal. Especially for management positions, Internet research is often used to find out additional information about the job candidate. This includes, for example, social commitments in associations, as volunteers and political interest groups. A glance at the homepage of the previous employer also often provides information about the applicant and his or her previous activities. In the following, we will give you tips on how you can present yourself and your person in a positive light on the Internet and which representations you should avoid in the application process.

1. personal information

Check the web regularly to find out what information about yourself is available on the Internet. Beyond the well-known search engine research (e.g. google and msn.), there is another search possibility in the world wide web. If you enter your first and last name in quotation marks (example: 'Max Mustermann'), all entries on websites, in forums and databases relating to your name will be displayed. So you can check at any time how your internet presence looks like and you will have the chance to react.

2. presence in social networks

In recent years, the number of social networks in both the private and business sectors on the Web has increased significantly. They compete for the representation of the own person. But be careful, consider - especially during the application process - exactly where you present yourself. Because the less you disclose personal data on the Internet, the better. Specialist forums in the business network are a good medium for presenting your own professional skills.

3. own homepage

Of course you can create your own website and especially if you present professional articles or contributions, this can be very beneficial for your career. But avoid the presentation of private photos and circumstances, always keep the focus on your own professional future. A homepage should always be well maintained and up-to-date. Outdated content does not make a good impression when doing recruitment research.

4. entries in web forums and blogs

Applicants should refrain from publishing spicy details in private web forums. The authors are often not aware that HR staff are also readers of web entries. Avoid publishing confidential information on the Internet. And do not use an email address for web forums and newsgroups that consists of your first and last name. A second, inconspicuous email address without direct reference to your person is helpful here.

5. removal of posts in web forums

If, despite all caution, embarrassing posts from your own hand are still on the net, please inform the operator of the website and ask him to delete the content. As a rule, these posts will then also be deleted - especially in the case of reputable forum operators. Generally speaking, however, you will bear the consequences for inconsiderate posts, photos and perhaps even outdated opinions.

6. management of your online presence

If the deletion of unwanted posts in the world wide web is not possible, there is the possibility to manage your own online presence via free services. The aim is to appear as high up in the Google ranking as possible. Careless postings slip on one of the back pages in search engines, the presence decreases. In these portals (e.g. Naymz) you can prepare a professional presentation on the internet with individual design, structured information and a lot of space for pictures, texts and videos, always with the aim to appear quickly among the first search hits at Google etc. In the profile you can sort and comment on websites that contain your own name.

Blogs, websites and social networks such as Xing, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. are easily integrated if required. You will receive the latest search hits for your name at regular intervals.

7. image maintenance via a call rescue service ("reputation defender")

So-called "call rescue services" (e.g. reputation defender) have specialised in the optimisation of online reputations of individuals. Reputation Defenders are research experts and specialized in asserting your interests. They search the World Wide Web for unwanted entries, photos and videos. These may include embarrassing photos from private life, slander in social networks and extreme opinions that were posted on the Internet in the past and have since been forgotten by you. Especially in the case of slander or intended damage to reputation, the contributions may have been written by third parties without your own knowledge. Even if the entries are already "out of date", the Internet does not forget anything. By calling the companies and even taking legal action, they promise to delete unwanted contributions, embarrassing representations in social networks and unpopular photos. This service is subject to a fee and can be booked once or subscribed to in the form of a monthly membership fee.

Conclusion: In principle, applicants must be careful with personal data on the net. Before you make entries in forums, blogs or social networks, consider carefully whether these could promote your career or pose a risk. After all, HR professionals and headhunters are increasingly using the World Wide Web for research during the application process.

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