Managing your online presence

Getting Started

This resource covers managing your online presence for professional success. Discover how to create a positive digital footprint and optimise your social media.


The importance of managing your online presence
What social channels are looked at?
How to use LinkedIn
Where else to make a positive impact online
How to make sure you aren’t leaving a negative impression
Go optimise your online presence!

Social media has changed the way we communicate.

The average UK adult spends 108 minutes per day on social media and it’s estimated that the average Facebook user comments on 7 posts per week.  

All your photos, likes, comments and posts build up what is known as a digital footprint, or online presence. We all have one. And it’s never usually something we need to worry too much about.

But when you’re searching for a new job and actively applying for roles, your online presence is something you need to pay a little more attention to.

It’s becoming more common for recruiters to include online checks as part of the recruitment process.

It’s estimated that 77% of recruiters type the names of candidates into search engines, and 63% go on to search for their candidates on social media.  

And these online checks can have a major influence on your success in the recruitment process. 61% of HR professionals claim that negative content on social media can lead to them ruling a candidate out of the recruitment process.

TotalJobs has listed some real life examples of people having job offers rescinded because of their activity on social media. Don’t be one of them!

In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can manage your online presence.

We’ll start by looking at the common channels that recruiters will look at, and how to optimise them to make the best impression. We’ll then look at ways to manage your online presence to avoid recruiters seeing things that you don’t necessarily want them to see.

Recruiters commonly check the social presence of candidates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

Facebook and Instagram allow you quite a lot of custom control over what is posted on your page. So you can have a public page, but only allow certain content on there. But with Twitter and TikTok it’s all or nothing. You either have a protected account where only friends can see your content, or a public account where everyone can see it.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the privacy controls on each of the social media platforms, check out the following links:

But these four channels are not the most important platforms for you to be focusing on. The most important social channel that recruiters regularly check is LinkedIn.

For those unfamiliar with LinkedIn, it is a professional networking and job search platform that allows users to create profiles, connect with other professionals, share and discover industry news and insights and search for jobs.

LinkedIn is easy to set up and is free to use for basic features. If you want additional functionality (such as seeing who has been viewing your profile) you can upgrade to premium for a small fee.

To get started using LinkedIn, you need to create a profile by providing information about your education, work experience, skills, and interests. You can also upload a profile picture, a short bio and any other relevant documents or media.

Once you have your profile set up, you’re ready to use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals, join groups, and search for jobs.

TOP TIP: Be careful what you post, share and comment on. Recruiters will be looking at your LinkedIn when you apply for a role!

Being active on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to demonstrate to potential employers that you take your career seriously and you’re dedicated to your profession. But it’s important to think carefully about the way you engage with other people and add value with the content you post.

We’ve put together a few tips on how to post and engage on LinkedIn effectively.

Plan your content

Planning your content ahead of time can help you ensure that you’re consistently posting high-quality, relevant content on LinkedIn.

Start by identifying topics that would be valuable to your target audience, and think the type of posts that could really add value. Research suggests that ‘listicles’ and ‘how to’ posts generally perform well on the platform.

You don’t have to post every day to be successful. One or two high quality posts per week are enough for you to add value and look active to recruiters on the platform.

Consider the tone of your content

It’s up to you to choose how you want to engage on LinkedIn, and the type of ‘personal brand’ you want to create. There are many people on the platform who see a lot of success by posting highly personal content. And there is nothing wrong with being your authentic self and sharing your personal stories. Being open and posting personal content can actually help build a connection with people that appreciate your openness and authenticity.

But be aware that not all employers and recruiters respond to personal content the same way. It can perhaps be safer to keep your posts professional and industry focused.

It’s your choice. Just think carefully about how you want to be perceived.

Optimise your posts

One of the best ways to optimise your posts is to craft a compelling opening line that will grab readers’ attention.

Consider using the following as the first line of your LinkedIn post:

  • Questions
  • Statistics
  • Quotes
  • A clear ‘how to’ statement

Best practice for LinkedIn posts is also to break your content into short blocks of texts – try to avoid long paragraphs that might look daunting to read.

TOP TIP: You should also consider the use of hashtags to help your content reach people interested in your topics. Don’t treat hashtags on LinkedIn the same way you might on Instagram. It’s best to keep it focused to 2 or 3 highly relevant hashtags rather than including too many.

Respond to every comment on your posts

Engaging with your audience is an important part of building a strong presence on LinkedIn. Make an effort to respond to every comment on your posts, whether it’s a simple thank you or a more detailed response. This helps to build a sense of community and encourages further engagement.

Be deliberate in your engagement strategy

It can be easy to spend hours scrolling through different posts on LinkedIn. There’s some great content on there! But to get the most out of the platform and make sure you’re engaging on only the most relevant posts, it’s important to browse with intent.

Make a list of the hashtags you want to follow that are relevant to the areas you want to demonstrate expertise in.

Make a list of the main creators or established voices in your topics of choice.

Start off by only engaging and commenting on content that appears in both lists. This will make sure your time on the platform is focused, and that your engagements all look relevant to potential recruiters.

If you’re looking to boost your online presence and get yourself seen by people in the recruitment community, there are also other another couple of sites you might consider looking into.

CV Library

CV Library is a job search and career development website that allows job seekers to upload their CV and create an online portfolio. This can be a great way to showcase your skills and experience to recruiters and hiring managers.

Job Sites

There are many job sites, such as Indeed and Monster, that allow job seekers to create a profile and upload their CV.

These sites are often used by recruiters to find candidates, so creating a profile and regularly updating your resume can help increase your visibility.

Niche Portfolio Sites

Depending on your industry or area of expertise, there may be niche portfolio sites specifically geared towards your field.

For example, if you’re a designer, you might consider creating a portfolio on Behance.

These sites can be a great way to showcase your work, make connections with other professionals in your industry, and be visible for recruiters in the search for candidates.

We’ve looked at the ways you can make a positive impression on recruiters with a fully optimised LinkedIn profile, and by uploading your CV to various different job sites.

So that’s the positive side of things.

But you also need to make sure that recruiters don’t come across anything negative when they are researching you online.

A study by GoDaddy listed the things that recruiters tend to look for when reviewing a candidates online presence:

  • Any discriminatory comments you might have made
  • Any negative comments about a previous employer
  • Inappropriate photos or videos
  • Evidence of drug use

Check your online presence on Google

As a quick exercise, put yourself in the mindset of the recruiter and jump on Google.

Type your name (and potentially your location if you have a popular name) in the search bar and see what comes up.

Is there anything that appears in the search results that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see?

Don’t just stop at the text-based search results. Click on the ‘News’, ‘Images’ and ‘Videos’ tabs on Google. Is there anything that comes up that you feel might prevent you from securing a new role?

If anything comes up that you’re uncomfortable with, you should take the necessary steps with the image or content owners to try and have the media taken down.

Check your online presence on social media sites.

Repeat the same exercise as you’ve just completed on Google on recruiters favourite social media platforms:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • TikTok

Have a look at the posts, photos, videos and comments that come up when you search for your name.

If there is content that appears out there that you wouldn’t want potential employers to see, it’s important to take the correct action to stop it.

If it’s content that you have posted yourself, you should be able to delete any problematic media, or control what people see by adjusting the privacy settings for content you post.  

But it’s important to remember that you don’t just want to look at the photos or videos you’ve uploaded yourself. You also need to consider content that may have been uploaded by a friend where you have been tagged.

You won’t be able to delete this content. You’ll have to ‘untag’ yourself.

Luckily, it’s quite easy to untag yourself from pictures and videos that you no longer wish to be associated with.

There’s a handy guide to untagging yourself on Facebook, and it’s also possible to remove your tag from Instagram photos if you’re on a mobile device.  

If you’re searching for a new job, optimising your online presence is a necessary step in the digital world.

The majority of recruiters are going to be typing your name into search engines and social networks. So make sure you’re happy with what they’re going to find!

Hopefully this guide has given you some good tips for how to manage your privacy settings, get started on LinkedIn and remove any problematic content from the main social networks.

But remember the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and be mindful of what you post and the way it may be perceived in future.

Good luck with your job search! If you need more support with your job application, be sure to check out our resource on Writing your CV and Cover Letter.