Looking for a new job? Be smart online! Your activity on the internet may make or break your chances of getting a job you want. Too often people sabotage their job search by leaving a trail online of careless, controversial, or foolish posts, pictures, or comments. Others use their time online to create an image that screams “Hire me!”
Here are five rules to follow to help insure your success:
- Maximize your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a tremendous tool for your job search, not the least of which is being found. Also, a recruiter or hiring manager may check you out during a hiring process just to see what you have posted. Spend time to create a full, professional profile. Be as meticulous as you are in creating your resume. Be sure there are no spelling errors and make it readable. Whether it’s to find you in a search, or to check you out as you’re being considered for a position, your LinkedIn profile is critical to give you an advantage when you’re competing for an offer.
- Picture this! Clearly, having pictures online that show you drinking, doing drugs, or something else foolish or worse can be deadly to getting an offer. However, often people forget that ALL pictures online form a portrait of who you are. I saw a LinkedIn profile of a middle-aged heavy-set man with a picture of an apparent vacation in Hawaii where he was shirtless and wearing a lei. Not the image a potential employer is likely hoping for. Pictures on Facebook, MySpace, Flickr or any other site are accessible, often even when you think they are marked ‘private’. If you put it on the web, it can usually be found. It’s public information and can be a factor in a hiring decision. Make sure the pictures online, particularly on LinkedIn create the best professional image you can.
- Avoid controversy. You may have strong opinions about politics, wars, healthcare, or a number of other topics. Airing them out publicly online, however, may alienate a potential employer. Whether the recruiter or hiring manager agrees with your opinions or not may be irrelevant if they consider the potential turmoil it may produce in their organization. Debate and discussion live and in-person is great, but anything posted online is open to public consumption now and years from now.
- Watch your language! Just as controversial subjects can be off-putting when being considered for employment, so can bad language. If your posts in a blog, ‘Tweets’ on Twitter, comments to articles, or discussion in online forums are characterized by profanity, or sexual references it’s not likely to create the image you’d like a hiring manager to have of you.
- Exude optimism! Complaining about your previous company, boss, current circumstances, neighbors, products, businesses, associates, or anything else creates an image of a whiner. Body language and tone don’t come across online. It’s critical to create an online persona of professionalism, helpfulness, graciousness, and optimism. If you read everything you’ve written online, would it sound like someone you’d like to spend time with each day, or someone that would bring you down? Create the impression that will make you an attractive employee and co-worker.
All of these things are not guaranteed to make a difference, however, if a recruiter or hiring manager were to Google you (and a high percentage of them do), what they find can be a deciding factor as to whether they will move forward with you or not.
Be careful to craft your online image and remember that EVERYTHING you post is open to consideration!