There’s no getting away from the fact that any prospective aviation employer worth their weight is likely to Google you before they call you to interview. What this means is that they can check you out without ever having to see you eye-to-eye. If your online presence is in good shape, that won’t be an issue, but if you suspect that there might be some skeletons lurking in your online cupboard, today’s the day to find out.
While there’s a limit to what you can do to rectify some online search results, at least being aware of any potential problems will enable you to develop a strategy for how you might deal with any fallout.
The best place to start to get to know what is online about you is to Google yourself. You should sign out of your Google account if you have one, then initially search your full name as it appears on your CV and your covering letter. This is the best way to see the same results as a potential employer will see. Top Tip: it’s well worth checking well beyond the first page; that way you’re sure to develop a good overview of what’s being said about you.
Once you’ve Google-d your name only, then Google things like your name plus previous employers and maybe schools or universities you’ve attended or clubs and organisations you’ve been part of. Once again, look well beyond the first page to really get a feel for what is online about you. When you’ve done both of these searches, have a search through Google images for the same search criteria.
Both of these actions will enable you to become aware of what’s being said about you or images that are appearing that feature you in cyberspace. While there mightn’t be an awful lot you can do to get information taken down, at least if you’re forewarned, you can be forearmed to deal with the situation.
In order to keep up with any new information that might be posted about you, you could set up a Google Alert for your name and Google will advise you if and when new information is posted about you on the Internet.
Another essential part of your online audit is your social media presence. You should make it a priority to sift through your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts (as well as any other social media accounts you might have) to make sure there’s nothing embarrassing that could trip you up in your job search process. You should also take advantage of the time you spend on the social media to make sure your presence is as top-notch as it can be. Particular things to bear in mind are:
Publishing quality profiles that contain relevant keywords
Making sure you have great looking photos
Double checking that your contact details are up to date and work
Setting privacy rules so you only share what you want to share with the people you want to
Making sure you have a good handle on what’s being said about you on the social media
When you’re happy that your social media presence is in the best shape it can be, you should make sure that your profile, contacts and CV information on any job board you’re registered on are completely up to date and correct.
If you happen to find things on line that leave you worried, a good idea is to contact the people who are speaking about you to see if you can have information removed. For example, if you’re appearing on a previous employer’s website or a friend has published a photo of you that you’d rather they hadn’t, you should be able to fix the problem easily. A call or an email to a previous employer will prompt them to remove your name and most friends will understand if you ask them to delete a photo that leaves you exposed in an embarrassing way.
If all else fails, at least your audit will have given you an overview of what your prospective aviation employer is likely to see online about you. With that knowledge, you can prepare your line of defense so you can minimise the potential damage.
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