Summary: An online presence can make it or break it for applicants before they even get to the interview. Be prepared by building your online profiles before you begin applying.
When a company receives hundreds of applications for an open position, they have multiple ways of sifting through them to find the best candidates to interview. The typical ways include checking to make sure applicants match the requirements then checking for good cover letters. The employer now has two lists of “possible” and “no”.
Next, most employers head to their computer to run a Google search of your name. After Googling your name, there are now three lists of “yes”, “maybe” and “no” based on what they found online. The “yes” pile will move on to phone interviews and possibly formal interviews. In order to make sure you end up in the pile that gets a phone interview, you need to make sure your online presence is desirable.
Google yourself before applying for jobs. What kind of results come up? A lack of results does not look good in the eyes of the employer. They want applicants that are engaged in the internet, because the internet is how our society functions.
Now try Googling well-known people in your industry. What kind of results pull up for their name? Beyond any popular news coverage you will find things like a LinkedIn profile, Twitter page, a Facebook profile, a Google+ profile, a VisualCV, a personal blog, and maybe an Amazon profile, Pinterest page and YouTube page depending on the industry of the individual. All of these pages are free and easy to set up. They serve as opportunities for you to describe yourself in your own words. Employers will assume that since these pages are open to the public, everything you describe is true.
Maintain your search results for any bad or less desirable things that may pop up. There may be a case of mistaken identity or just another person that shares the same name. It is important that you are aware of what results are appearing so you can address them before an employer sees them and assumes the worst.
Work on your public image. Having a strong public image isn’t just for celebrities. Be involved in community events. There may be a chance that a local news station picks up the event for the homeless that you are involved in for a story. You don’t want the only news report on you to be the one where you called the cops on your neighbors because their dogs were barking during the day.
Depending on what industry you are trying to get into, you may or may not need as strong of an online presence. Someone looking for a job in marketing or communications will need to have a strong online presence to show potential employers that they know how to use the full extent of the internet to get the job done.
Photo: hongkiat.comWhat Employers Do Before Calling You for an Interview by Amanda Griffin