Equifax Acquires TrustedID for Its Personal Solutions Business Unit

July 8, 2013

When we started TrustedID® almost a decade ago, it was with the goal of providing our customers with the most comprehensive and proactive identity protection available in the market.  Since that time, we’ve proudly served millions of individuals and led our industry with innovative ways to help protect them from the growing and diverse risks to their identity and reputation.  Today, we  are announcing that we’re taking the next step on our mission – joining Equifax Personal Solutions, with whom we have signed an agreement to acquire TrustedID.  Learn More 


Absence on Facebook = Criminal behavior?

August 30, 2012

A recent Forbes article sparked controversy when author Kashmir Hill claimed that Facebook abstainers could be labeled “suspicious”. The debate originated in Germany when an expert suggested that not being on Facebook exposes you as a social outcast, or even a potential mass murderer. (Both Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik and Aurora, CO shooter James Holmes lacked a social media presence).

Employers, for example, use social networks to find or screen potential applicants, and without an online presence, you may be overlooked. Even worse, they may assume you’re hiding something or failing to keep up with new technology. Yet, if you don’t enjoy using Facebook, you shouldn’t force yourself into a shabby profile. (Just keep in mind that Facebook is currently recruiters’ second most popular network of choice.)

While Kashmir refers to Facebook specifically, we think the discussion is broader. We believe you should focus your attention on having an online presence–but do it in a way that makes sense for you. Find the social network you feel fits you best as a person and/or professional, and start there. There are many ways to showcase your personality, a creative video bio on YouTube or a picture portfolio on Pinterest, for example. Also, if you have a blog, or write guest blogs for other bloggers, you can easily establish an online persona that shows off your professional skills, as well as your personal interests.

Conclusion: You want to be visible online, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, a blog or any other social platform. If you find yourself shying away from social platforms, it doesn’t mean you’re predisposed to isolation or criminal behavior (we hope). It often means you just haven’t found your footing. We recommend starting with LinkedIn. Create a profile and connect with people you know to get comfortable. Once you’re familiar with one network, you will likely start dipping your toe in to test the waters of other social networks.


6 Social Networks to Leverage in Your Job Search

July 16, 2012

Social networks offer benefits and opportunities that job seekers can leverage during the job search. Does that mean that you should have a profile on all of them? If you’re so inclined, sure! But you can also select the networks that make the most sense for you and your industry.

To help you determine which network is right for you, here is our overview of the 6 most popular social networks and their specific benefits:

1. LinkedIn
According to a new Jobvite survey, LinkedIn remains the dominant recruiting network, used by 93% of the respondents. Employers worldwide are on the site, and you may link with them directly by building a profile that outlines your experience. Showcasing your skills and talents on LinkedIn will help the right people and opportunities find their way to you.

Tip: Keep your profile up-to-date with your latest work information. Don’t forget to include a well-written summary that holds keywords and touches on your experience, interests, and goals.

2. Twitter
Twitter can be overwhelming for first-timers, but, with a little bit of patience, you can build a great network and connect with industry leaders or recruiters. You’ll have the opportunity to show them just how interested people are in what you have to say, and they will learn about your status in the industry. It can also increase your visibility and add to your credibility as a professional.

Tip: Use websites like WeFollow.com and Twellow.com to identify key influencers and industry leaders.  Once you follow them, listen and learn!

3. Facebook
What recruiters and employers like about Facebook is that it bridges the gap between personal and professional life. Image is everything. Your Facebook profile displays your personality and employers can better determine how you’ll fit into the company culture. Make your profile authentic, and showcase your ideal image. For more information check out our previous blog post on Facebook’s importance in the job search.

Tip: Make use of job searching apps like BranchOut and BeKnown to target your job search. ‘Like’ companies that interest you, and engage in conversation on their page. It’s a great way to connect with potential employers.

4. Pinterest
What better way to show off your newest design, or the delicious dishes you cooked up in your kitchen? If you are an aspiring artist or a chef in the making, Pinterest is A MUST for you! Photo sharing is one of the most popular features of social networks, so use Pinterest as a portfolio of your work.

Tip: In lieu of, or in addition to, posting a regular written resume, use Pinterest as a way to create a visual representation of your resume or professional experience. Create boards for your work experience, awards and accomplishments, degrees or classes, a portfolio of your work, and even your hobbies and interests. (Click here to see how it’s done!)

5. YouTube
Yet another great network for a creative professional! You can utilize YouTube to create a more effective and interactive online experience for employers, rather than just falling back on the good old resume.

Tip: Thinking about a video resume? Keep it short, a minute or two, and explain your background in a story-like fashion. Also specify why you are the best person for this job and what value you would bring to this organization with the skills you possess.

6. Google+
Google+ has established itself as a social network for people that are interested in the tech industry, including early adopters, social influencers and tech innovators. It’s a great place to showcase expertise and learn from others. And since Google controls much of search traffic, your Google+ profile will be found more easily, adding extra value to this relatively new network.

Tip: Google+ Sparks are topics you might be interested in, and a good way to keep track of what’s happening in your industry. Search by keyword to find news and information, and save your searches, which will then show up under Sparks on your profile page for quick access.

Any other social networks you’ve had success with during your job search? Do tell!


Job Seekers Beware – 9 Major Social Media Pitfalls!

June 18, 2012

Without a doubt, social media offers a variety of benefits and opportunities for job seekers. However, as much as we encourage you to take advantage of the pluses, we also want you to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Here’s our list of the 9 major social media pitfalls to dodge during your job search:

1. Lying about your work history and qualifications

Doing this in any way, shape or form is a NO-GO! The rise of social media profiles makes it A LOT easier for potential employers to catch false information. Nobody likes a cheater! Your work experience, as shown on LinkedIn or Facebook, should match the resume that you hand to employers. Your information should be consistent across all networks.

2. Posting offensive comments anywhere social

Any use of profanity or offensive language will reflect negatively upon you, so avoid status updates and comments that could be interpreted as racist, sexist, criminal or discriminatory in any way (even if you assume that no one would take it seriously…someone could, and that someone shouldacoulda been your boss.)

3. Badmouthing a former employer, colleague, supervisor…etc.
This should be a no-brainer, but surprisingly enough, many people still air-out dirty laundry about past or current employment situations without considering the consequences. If you give someone the impression that you’ll badmouth them once you part ways, it’s unlikely they’ll even consider you. Also, beware the “I’m so bored,” or “this work stinks” posts. They reek of “lazy bum.” And, of course, revealing any snippet of confidential company information is 100% off-limits.

4. Not doing good with your grammar. (doing well!)
Yes, even with 140 characters in a tweet, using correct grammar is key! How many job postings do you see with “strong written and/or verbal communication skills” as REQUIREMENTS? These aren’t optional anymore. So don’t make a poor first impression by using subpar grammar. If your Facebook posts are consistently sporting spelling errors, incorrect usage, or odd abbreviations, potential employers don’t ignore them. Check your grammar and spelling to make sure that it’s top notch.

5. Sharing questionable pictures.
Whenever you upload a new photo, keep in mind that the wrong picture could easily go viral. Your friends might decide to share the pictures on their (public) networks. Or, even worse, they tagged you, and now all someone has to do is type your name into a search engine, and voilà… Look. At. You. Don’t let this happen. Adjust your privacy settings so prior approval of tags is required, and keep any inappropriate pictures offline (and as far away from potential employers as possible). What’s “inappropriate”? See grandma rule from former blog!

6. Venting, venting…and more venting.
We understand that there are days where you need to let off some steam, but as tempting as it may be to express your anger and frustration with 1000 of your closest friends on Facebook or Twitter, it may come back to haunt you. Think potential employers may see it as a sign of emotional instability? (Duh.) So if you’re angry or upset, give yourself time to cool off, or go to the gym and sweat it out. Never post anything in the heat of the moment.

7. Oversharing
Social networks encourage you to share information with your friends, but there are limits. One way to avoid this is to not make your online presence all about you. Share some interesting articles and videos. That way you’ll show that you have something meaningful to say other than what’s on TV tonight or what your doctor says about your intestinal problems. In short: know what to share, when to share it and with whom. Maintain a level of professional aloofness by limiting the content you upload.

8. Joining questionable groups or discussions
Who doesn’t enjoy networking with like-minded people? If you are actively searching for a job in a certain field, joining industry related discussions and groups is a great way of showing initiative and passion for a field. However, be careful about the more ‘casual’ groups you are joining. If you belong to “I don’t get drunk, I get awesome!” you might want to reconsider the talents you boast to the online universe. And, clearly, any discriminatory groups fall under the category of BAD IDEA.

9. Ignoring what everyone’s saying on your networks  
Pay attention. You probably won’t have time to check all your networks regularly (seeing how there’s a new one every week), so using a social monitoring service like Reppler will help you manage your professional online image across the different networks. With Reppler, you’ll receive instant notification if there is inappropriate content on any of your profiles. The sooner you fix the content, the better.


What Employers Are Looking For When They Screen Your Social Networks

May 21, 2012

It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers are going to sneak a peek at your social networks during the application process. But do you know what they’re actually sifting through your profiles to find? In a recent Reppler survey, we asked hiring managers if they have ever hired a candidate as a result of their social networking site content, and, if so, what specific factors influenced their decisions.

These were the Top 5 “it” factors they reported:

  1. The candidate gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit.
  2. The profile supported their professional qualifications.
  3. The profile showed that the candidate was creative.
  4. The candidate demonstrated solid communication skills.
  5. The profile showed that the candidate was well-rounded.

On the flip-side, we also wanted to know how hiring managers responded to any questionable social media content. Jennifer King, HR analyst at Software Advice, interviewed several recruiters and hiring managers to shed some light on this subject.*

There’s good news in that, while some recruiters outright reject candidates based on their social network content, others prefer to give the candidate a chance for redemption. That being said, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a chance to explain any or every raging weekend party picture. To be safe, we always recommend implementing the “grandma test” to keep profiles in check. If grandma wouldn’t be ok with it, don’t share it! Even if your privacy settings are set to “Friends only”, you never know who might gain access to your profile, or what your connections will share. Nothing that you put online is private!

Amy Henderson, account executive with Technisource, and one of King’s interviewees, offers this conclusion, “Perception is reality in the business world. The way people perceive you online, through social media–that’s what they use to make first impressions. And those first impressions are lasting impressions.”

*For more insights, check out the full article by Jennifer King.


Graduation Time: Get Your Social Networks Job Search Ready

May 8, 2012

Happy graduation month! While there is much to celebrate, most of you are aware that the “next step” clock is ticking away. What lies ahead? What happens now?

According to a recent Associated Press article, 1 in 2 new college graduates are jobless or underemployed. And job opportunities in popular fields, including education, healthcare, fine arts and humanities are in limited supply. The highly competitive job market forces all job seekers, especially recent grads, to step up their game, and social media provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

In Reppler’s recent survey, 91% of employers said they use social networks to screen applicants. Social networks can go beyond the scope of resumes and cover letters, granting employers insights into your personality and character. These insights can help assess your compatibility with both the position and a company’s overall culture. Take advantage! Your personality, achievements and interests need to convince employers that you’re a great fit–and a wise investment.

Unfortunately, for all the benefits social media provides, you can’t ignore its dark side. Everything written or published on the web stays. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey, 34% of hiring managers find negative and inappropriate material on social networks that causes them to eliminate candidates. This material includes, but is not limited to (Hint: This is what you want to avoid!):
·         References to alcohol and drug abuse
·         Sexually explicit photos
·         Derogatory language
·         Bad-mouthing former employers/co-workers

To show our support for new graduates (and, of course, anyone else in search of a job), we’re going to be providing a series of posts around job searching with social media throughout May. Stay tuned to find out what potential employers want to see on social networks, what pitfalls to avoid and which networks to leverage in your job search.


Your Professional Online Image Has Been Tainted – What Now?

April 17, 2012

Whether you’re a recent graduate in search of a new job, or a working professional looking to take the next step in your career, owning and managing your online image is crucial. As we all know, anything goes online, and the sheer size of the web gives anyone with a connection access your good, bad and ugly, alike.

If you’ve come across negative information about you online, here are steps to help build yourself back up:

1.   Know what’s out there, so there are no surprises.
Google your name, and take a close look at the first few pages. Since online screening has become an important part of the hiring process, it’s key to be aware of the information that’s out there about you. If you know what’s out there, you’ll be prepared to address any inquiries.

2.   Be upfront and proactive.
If you do end up having to field questions regarding negative online content, take the proactive approach. Be honest about what’s being said and why, and share how you are going to respond.

3.   Have it removed (or remove it yourself).
The longer you wait to remove unsavory content, the further it could spread. If you posted something inappropriate on your social media accounts, simply delete it. If someone else posted a negative comment, ask them to remove it. If the other party is unwilling to comply, consider raising the stakes and taking legal action. Also, if the damage to your reputation is substantial, consider a professional reputation management service that will help you remove content.

4.   Create your own content.
Many employers will only look at the first few pages after entering your name in search engines. By posting your own content, you can help push down any negative content and showcase your own positive content. Traditional blogs, video blogs and social media profiles rank high on search engines, so create as much positive content as possible. Also, consider deleting unused accounts that might contain outdated personal information.

With vigilance and initiative, negative online content can be resolved. But it’s always a good idea to be proactive–taking steps to ensure that YOU are the one dictating your online reputation.


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