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Work: Seeking New Employment

Internet Social Networking (such as Facebook and Linked In) and Searches: Cautions And Tips

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Before applying for a job:
  • If you do not want to disclose your health condition to a prospective employer, do your own search (or ask a knowledgeable friend to do it for you) to find and remove any mention of your health history. 
    • It is advisable to type your name into at least Google and Bing  ( offsite link and offsite link respectively). 
      • Of particular concern are the entries that show up on the first page. If items appear that you cannot change, consider the following steps:
        • Go to the primary source to ask for a change. 
        • Try to push positive content to the top of search results. One way to do this is to create your own web site using your name as the domain name if available. (A popular site for this purpose is WordPress offsite link). Another way is to blog in your area of expertise or provide insightful comments to online articles you read.
        • Get help from companies which help fix what people say about you. For instance, offsite link
    • If your name comes up as associated with a disease site, (including any of their services such as chat  rooms or buddy sites): you can ask the organization to remove your name, or change what the public sees to a fictitious name. 
    • Also check all social pages on which you may show up such as Facebook. 
      • Even if your security settings are at the highest level, there is no assurance that your postings will not be seen. In addition to obvious areas to check such as your telling friends about your illness, keep in mind that if a batch of your friends indicate they have the same serious health condition a potential employer may conclude that you likely also have the same health condition. If this fits you, consider making your friends list private.
      • Also keep in mind that the Facebook "Timeline format" makes it easy to search back through your old Facebook posts. You can hide Timeline posts. Hold your cursor over the post, click the pencil icon that appears in the upper-right hand corner. Then click "Delete" or "Hide from timeline."
    • If you cannot scrub your name from the internet as connected with a health condition, be prepared to explain how it will not affect your ability to do the job or your long term prospects. 
  • Do what you can to modify information about yourself on the internet to make yourself more like the person you think an employer would want to hire. For example, It helps to be part of a site which relates to your occupation. 
    • Professionals would also do well to register on LinkedIn.
    • Make your profile as attractive to prospective employers as you can without lying. 
    • Make frequent updates.
    • If your work involves contact with people outside the employer, try to get as many links as you can that help show an extensive network.

Additional tips:

  • On sites with a "like" button: Be aware that each time you click a "like" button, you note your interest in a subject on Facebook. 
  • Set up a Google Alert offsite link of your name to monitor the internet for each time your name is added. You will receive an e mail each time the search engine finds a new entry with your name.

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