First impressions are everything. Whether you are attending a networking event or preparing for an interview, you most likely spend a fair amount of time grooming yourself to look your very best – both physically and mentally. The same is true on-line! When it comes to creating a virtual persona, you need to put your best foot forward as well. However, all the nuances of body language are unavailable to you in a picture or post through social media. Instead, in managing your on-line persona, you must rely on a professional-looking profile and a fantastic picture to score that extra look or on-line job review from potential employers. Indeed, many employers these days review the social media of all of their potential candidates. More recently, some cutting-edge employers even include an assessment of social media interactions as a part of the evaluation and interview process. Given that social media profiles and your presence on-line are both very important in this economy, below are some tips to help make the best of your on-line presence.
1. Utilize popular social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Google Profiles, and ZoomInfo.
The Internet provides a wealth of resources to help you better present yourself to the world. Why not take advantage of them? According to an article in Forbes, more and more frequently, employers are using tools like LinkedIn’s “Resume Builder” to seek out top talent (Schawbel: “5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 Years). As a result, merely building and updating a hard copy of your resume are no longer sufficient ways to keep up in the current job climate. Fortunately, with some research and practice, such tools are painless to use. So get started today! You may use your existing resume as a starting point. Just be sure to take advantage of all features presented to you. Write a brief bio about yourself in the designated space. Organize your credentials and experiences carefully—and be detailed!
2. Do not hide it: show your passion!
The wonderful thing about online profiles is that, unlike a face-to-face interview, where you often have to provide compelling answers and engaging short talk on the spot, you can spend an unlimited amount of time crafting the right bio to get the tone just right and to effectively create your virtual identity. With this in mind, be sure to sell yourself not only as a package with many skills and experiences, but also as a passionate individual with a mission, a precise purpose for doing what you do. According the Schawbel’s article, “job seeker passion has become the deciding factor in employment” (Schawbel: “5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 Years). Competition is stiff. Plenty of people have sterling credentials and qualities, but how many people can frame these qualities to show specifically employers how passion plays into getting the job done? At the end of the day, it may not only be the prestigious award, pristine academic records, or interesting experience that puts you ahead of another candidate, but rather your drive to perform and your reason to do whatever you do best.
3. The visual still matters, of course: choose an appropriate profile picture.
A profile picture, while perhaps not as telling as an actual in-person encounter, can give a face to the person behind the lofty titles and laundry list-like qualifications of your resume. Be sure to choose a picture in which you are wearing your best attire, ideally, it should be business casual or better. Smile. Adopt a confident and memorable posture. As simple as it may seem, your profile picture will be the first thing anyone sees, so be inviting, as that moment is frozen in time for all employers to review.
4. Work with what is already available to you: Google yourself.
It is not vain or weird to Google yourself. In fact, by Googling yourself, you may save yourself some confusion in the future. According to an article by Miriam Salpeter published by U.S. News and World Report, often, your Google results will fall into three categories: “negative, irrelevant, and ‘hey, that’s not me.’” By searching for yourself, you will know what others see when they type your name into the abyss and, as a result, will be able to tailor your profiles to counter any disparaging information. That said, it is not necessary to explicitly state your awareness of the Google results on your profile. Do not acknowledge them directly; simply work against them. Likewise, perhaps your Google results yield useful or even favorable information about you—an article published by your university detailing a scholarship you had won or a project you had completed or a publication in an academic journal, for instance. Be sure to capitalize on these images as well by detailing the nature of the award, project or article on your profile. You never know who may be interested in learning more about your past professional and creative endeavors and how that interest may help you in the long run.
5. Start or maintain a personal blog.
Perhaps you are particularly passionate or knowledgeable about a certain topic relevant to your chosen field. A blog may be just the platform you need to express such passion and knowledge! If you already run a blog, be sure to maintain it regularly and check existing entries for errors or questionable information. In any case, a carefully maintained blog show employers that you are always reflecting: on yourself, on your life, and on your job or career aspirations. Furthermore, well-crafted posts reveal effective communication skills and an ability to engage an audience, a skill that many employers seek out restlessly.
Will these tips work for you? Good luck!!
Salpeter, Miriam. “5 Painless Steps to Controlling Your Online Rep.” US News RSS. U.S. News and World Report, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 28 July 2015.
Schawbel, Dan. “5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 Years.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 21 Feb. 2011. Web. 28 July 2015.