Search results produced by the internet can be the difference between a hiring company or a recruiter giving you a job offer or a job rejection.
We live in a very digital world. The vast majority of job applications nowadays are online and hiring managers regularly turn to Google in their screening process. But they aren’t searching for the best interview questions to ask.
No, they are searching for you.
So what exactly does Google say about you? First, let’s hope Google knows who you are, then let’s hope you made the right impression.
One of the first things to show up will most likely be your social media profiles. Of course, what you do in your own time should have no bearing on your application but what is the overall impression that others might get from your social media profiles? Are your posts well written, using correct spelling and grammar? Is it mostly positive? Even if your profiles are set to private, they are still findable. A single like or share means people outside of your friends list can still view it. Therefore, you need to make sure you know what is showing up in search results and what can be seen by someone who is not on your friends list.
Social media can be a blessing or a curse – depending on how well you’re clued up on it. There is a thin line between using it to the best of your advantage, and abusing the power it can have.
If you’re in a profession which requires a corporate persona, you should start by creating separate accounts for your own personal use. It’s all well and good having a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account full to the brim of your night out antics and group selfies, but make sure these are all set to private. That way, the only people who can view these profiles are genuine friends who you have accepted and have given permission to do so. It also prevents your next potential boss from looking you up and being met with everything you don’t want them to see.
Can you think of anything worse than making it through the long-winded task of applying and the gruelling interview process, only to be rejected when they see that you’ve been sharing inappropriate videos or that you’ve made a few dodgy comments on your Facebook page? Even if you think it’s all innocent, others may not agree. Don’t set yourself up to fail. As stated earlier; it really could be the difference between a job offer and a job rejection.
Another way to stop unwanted attention from important people is to change your handle; this means altering your name on social media, so perhaps only using your first and middle names and removing your surname. It also depends on how rare your name is; if you’re lucky enough to have a name like ‘John Smith’ you can probably breathe a sigh of relief and rest assured that you won’t be found and analysed in great detail. But the downside of having such a common name is that hiring companies won’t be able to easily access you online, and not knowing anything about your online presence may actually be more detrimental to your future job role than if they had seen your social media profiles.
If you are 100% certain that your social media profiles are harmless and completely safe, then it may not be necessary to create professional accounts aswell. If you make this choice, you need to be constantly wary of everything you share, broadcast and write online. It isn’t obligatory to keep everything strictly job-related, but steer clear of anything that could be deemed unethical or dishonourable.
Another crucial feature to think about is the profile picture you choose to publicise. If you’re going to be promoting yourself through the power of social media, perhaps choose a decent headshot or a graduation photo. Be sure to avoid a selfie with your other half, photos your mates took of you in the club, and anything that is bad quality or blurry.
The way in which you promote yourself online can play a big part in your job prospects and ultimately, your future. You could of course, avoid the more social sites all together. For those who work as contractors, those looking for a job, or those who work in recruitment, platforms like LinkedIn are far more useful.
The same rules apply; but with these networks you can be much more involved in the job market and open yourself up to potential offers.
Using social networking can be extremely rewarding; provided you use it correctly, smartly and efficiently.
LinkedIn is another huge part of the recruitment process, so you should make sure that you take full advantage of this. Sign up if you haven’t already, complete your profile and start joining groups and conversations. This way, you can grow and develop your network and perhaps maybe connect with a few worthwhile contacts. This will help employers find you easily when they are sourcing candidates and show that you are passionate about your role to employers who are checking your social media after receiving an application.
Apart from checking that your profiles are completely safe, is there anything else you can do to ensure you’re not negatively represented on Google?
Securing a decent job in today’s modern market is a lot more than sending out a CV and attending a couple of interviews. Social media has truly taken over; as it is now considered a necessary marketing tool for making yourself stand out and be noticed.
The only thing worse than having your social networking profiles analysed and scrutinised by potential employers, is not having social networking profiles at all. If you’ve been living under a rock and you haven’t quite got to grips with the technology-induced world that currently exists, you might want to re-evaluate your priorities.
Not being accustomed to the era of social media isn’t necessary the be all and end all; and it’s certainly still simple enough to land the job you want without it. However, social media can boost your chances when applying for competitive roles. It’s one of the most essential advertising techniques to give yourself a prominent brand in the scary job market.
The best way to use social media to your advantage is to first outline your skills, previous experience and your personality on sites liked LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Most companies will want clear, concise and correct information that is written in a structured and professional manner; but it is also imperative to try and think outside the box and to push your creative side.
Excelling in social media can give you the opportunity to build your own online portfolio which is bound to express what you’re all about. This draws more attention to you as an employee, and will attract recruiters or clients to your services.
When it comes to social media, the facts are in the figures. In a recent study done by Career-Builder, 55% of employers who researched job applicants on social media claim they found something that caused them not to hire the applicant. The research found that 48% of recruiters currently use social networking sites to glean information on potential job candidates. However, it isn’t merely employers and recruiters that can use social media for their own benefits.
As a candidate, the world of online media should never be ignored. Many employers do use it to promote their brand and their job offers, which allows potential candidates to network with recruitment staff. This information can help you to pick up useful tips on the company and the recruitment process, which will make you come over as a well-informed candidate – so it is well worth making use of.
It’s important to ensure that your profile page sells you effectively – it should act as an online CV that allows you to mention your career goals.
You should find ways to share your ideas and insights on the industry you are part of. You could create a blog and write articles, contribute to someone else’s blog or website. Or if you are not comfortable writing, you could try your hand at infographics. There are plenty of sites where you can create and share infographics for free, and then there is also slideshare; another tool for sharing ideas. Make sure to share your content with your network and across your social media channels to build that visibility, engage with more contacts and develop your overall image.
This is all part of building effective thought leadership. It takes time to get to a respected status, but every single thing you do adds to your profile and builds your professional reputation. This in turn, builds your online presence and ensures that a potential employer can find you and have a great impression of your character.
Google can be your friend, or it can destroy your job application. The result is completely up to you.
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