Do you have an online presence? A Facebook page, LinkedIn account, personal website, blog, or other social media account? It might sound strange, but not having online accounts could be hurting your job search.
You could assume that having no social footprint is a better option: if there’s nothing to find, there’s nothing that can negatively impact your job search. However, this off-the-grid strategy sends an entirely different message to employers. Does this applicant lack tech skills? Do they have poor knowledge of how today’s world communicates?
Today’s employers are recruiting online and when they receive applications, they’re following up with an online search to learn out more about you. Bottom line: social media accounts give you a big opportunity to shine.
Your online accounts can boost your chances of landing a job by giving employers more positive information about you that goes above and beyond your resume and cover letter. Online accounts can speak to your character, your communication skills, your industry ties and knowledge, your work history, education goals, and personal interests.
So how can you boost your chances of having an online presence work to your advantage?
Your LinkedIn Profile
At the very least, each job seeker should have a professional LinkedIn account.If there’s only one account you put your time and effort into, make this the one. A LinkedIn account is like an online resume which may also include photos, documents, presentations, videos, course work, skills, volunteer work, education and more.
In addition, one of the most powerful tools that LinkedIn offers is the ability to connect and network with colleagues and peers. These connections are vital! Not only will you be able to find and make connections to hiring managers of jobs you’d love through LinkedIn, you’ll also be visible to recruiters looking for specific skills, talents and experiences.
Finally, following companies and individuals as well as posting comments on industry related posts is an important aspect of networking and displaying your strong interest, commitment, knowledge and communication skills.
Your Facebook account can be fun, but it could be something that you’ll want to keep professional or private. Research the privacy settings on Facebook and make sure that your posts, comments, and photos, if too controversial or private, are kept private so that they don’t negatively affect your job search.
If you’re looking for a job that requires you to use social media on a daily basis, having an open profile showcasing your professional use of the tool could be a better option. Make sure you know what face you want to present to employers and use your privacy settings accordingly.
Instagram, Twitter, Blogs, and more!
If you have other social media accounts, these too will need to be kept private or professional as you see fit. If a job that interests you requires writing or blogging, a professional blog makes sense. If it doesn’t, you may not want your personal blog, Twitter, or Instagram account found by employers. Again, use discretion in how you use your accounts and determine what purpose they serve.
A short and sweet professional about.me page could be a benefit to you during a job search. About Me is like an online business card, with a bit more information and pizazz. Creating a compelling professional summary and including links to other social media accounts that highlight you may be just the way to help employers find out more about who you are and what you can do. Consider About Me your online hub, directing employers where you’d like them to go.
Professional Website or Portfolio
It may be appropriate to have a professional website or portfolio where employers can learn even more about you. In other words, a place where you’ve curated your best work and are proactive in making sure you’re in control of what employers see.
In addition to your LinkedIn profile, your website could feature information about your skill set, ability to communicate, as well as share examples of your professional work such as documents, images, presentations, videos and more.
Ask employers to review your site as part of your resume or cover letter. This will give you another opportunity to showcase your skills and accomplishments that goes above and beyond the limited space on these essential first impression materials. Don’t let a chance like this go to waste! If it’ll help your job search and give employers concrete examples of what you can do, take advantage!
Know Your Status
Your online presence can either hinder and hurt or benefit and highlight who you are. Make sure you know what your online presence is saying about you!
Is it saying that you couldn’t be bothered to create an online presence and are unfamiliar with today’s technology and communication? Are your social media profiles saying controversial or private things you wouldn’t want an employer to know? Or are your accounts working for you, promoting your skills and accomplishments by showcasing real life examples of what you can do?
Before you begin your job search, make sure you know your online status and use that knowledge to your advantage to wow a hiring manager and land a job you’ll love.