Like any good job seeker, chances are you’ve done your homework on the company you’ve just sent an application.
But do you know what they’ll find when they research you?
It’s no secret that employers have taken to Googling potential candidates in order to fill their positions. In fact, 80% of employers Google job seekers before inviting them to an interview.
This means ensuring that your online presence is squeaky-clean is a must. Here are 5 quick steps to get you started!
1. Google yourself
The preliminary step. You’ve done it before, you should probably do it again – and continue to do so from time to time. This will give you an immediate assessment of your public digital footprint.
If you aren’t paying attention and checking on a regular basis, you may have to scramble to curate your online presence, hoping that no one important has looked you up.
2. Get public
Being invisible online is a big red-flag to employers, as it may suggest that you have something to hide – or that you have nothing to share.
Your digital footprint or public profile should not only be visible, but readily accessible: this means Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+.
Your presence should also demonstrate activity. Your last tweet shouldn’t be from 2011, and you should be doing more than hitting the retweet button.
3. Have a picture (everywhere)
We all like to place a face to a name.
Make sure your online networks and/or website have a professional photo of you. The photo doesn’t to be taken by a professional, but should be a well-lit headshot in professional or business casual attire. No passport photos please.
It helps to have a consistent headshot across your online networks.
4. Show your work
An online portfolio not only helps you share your work with the public – it also provides some handy corroboration for the claims you make on your resume and cover letter.
Different platforms exist to help you repackage your skills, experience and past projects in engaging, visually-friendly ways.
You can even reserve your own domain to showcase your online portfolio, particularly if you are a writer, photographer or artist – even if it’s just a hobby.
5. Post professional or PG
Insensitive jokes, inappropriate pictures, hot-topic opinions and badmouthing past and present employers are all sure-fire ways to get fired – or get screened out.
Twitter is a particularly public forum, and employers will routinely scour a potential candidate’s Twitter handle to determine if he/she is suitable for the position, as well as the company’s working culture.
A rule of thumb: If you can’t keep it professional, keep it PG.
It’s all about credibility
The bottom line is that employers are assessing your credibility as a potential candidate.
Are you the professional you say you are on your cover letter and resume?
Remember employers receive an endless number of applicants and need a reason to weed out and shortlist.
By assessing your digital footprint, employers can confirm your work experience and accomplishments but can also get an initial sense of who you are off-paper, and whether you’re a fit – before the interview process even begins.