182457_chasing_the_markets.jpgWhen it comes to getting jobs or interviews in business, its surprising how many people DON’T think about their online portfolio beforehand. It can be an excellent tool for advertising your self, your experience and skillsets. It can also really help to boost your respect and credibility for a position. The online world is such an important resource now-a-days, it is even being used to research new candidates for jobs. I have done a fair bit of hiring in my position, and do rely partly on the search engines to find additional information out about a candidate. Its useful to search for the person to find a personal website or blog they operate, or to find out about press releases or articles they are mentioned in or have written. Even social networking sites are a great way to find out a little more about a person.

Now the interested part is this, is everything YOU post online under your real name something you would want a potential employer to see? Or even a boy/girlfriend or spouse for that matter? How much different do you behave in a work environment than you do on any social networking sites. I’m amazed at what you can find out about a person online and how they behave after they tell you the usual polished answers to questions in an interview not suspecting you might ever find anything different. Often the pictures or comments people have online show more about how they interact with others than they would ever be willing to tell you. And would a bad online portfolio affect my decision in hiring someone? You bet I would! An article I read from the Boston Globe listed that:

Nearly 77 percent of recruiters said last year that they use search engines to check out candidates, and 35 percent have eliminated a candidate due to such a search, a survey by ExecuNet found.

So, now that you can see that there really is an impact to what you put online, what are you going to do about it? Do you want to build a positive portfolio hoping you will be googled sometime or just keep a low profile and hope that there is nothing bad to be found. Either way, its your call, but if you are already online or going to be, here are some things to consider.

  • Get yourself a real domain name (your name if available) if you have a website, don’t bother with the free hosting services, there are way too many drawbacks.
  • Run some searches on your own name, nicknames, name and city to find any existing content so you know what already out there about you.
  • Use your name consistently on your site, email, business cards, articles, online comments, resume, and any site where your posts or information is public. You’ll be much easier to find that way!
  • Clean up any unwanted info and contact site owners to remove or alter information about you that is not accurate or desirable for you to have online. There are services and websites that cache and archive everything so once it’s online, its there forever, but the visibility of it will slowly diminish to the point of never being found.
  • Keep your social networking sites’ portfolios consistent and limit yourself to only posting what is appropriate to have a potential employer see.
  • Build yourself a online portfolio and resume that does show what you want to be seen about you.

I’d love to see some comments on other things that people recommend to manager their online portfolio. I personally recommend Linkedin as a resource, its a business focused social networking site and an excellent resource for a professional portfolio. Lots of ways to network in your industry and cross industries and excellent search tools for finding jobs and potential hires. View my profile here at linkedin and feel free to send a connection request.

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