When was the last time you searched yourself on Google?
If you think it sounds like a cheesy thing to do, think again. These days, Google search is often where people go to find information about you. From social media profiles to published photos, those search results define your online reputation. This is an extension of your identity, and when it comes to job hunting, it matters.
You are your own brand
In the recruitment process, everything from your confident cover letter to your crisp interview attire contributes to an overarching professional representation of who you are. Everything, including “all the messages you put out – online, in person and on paper –combine to form a brand image to all who cross your path” (McGuiness, 2013).
That’s because social tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn have influenced the way we communicate to the point where our online and offline identities are fluid. What you do and say on the Internet connects to your actions and opinions in the real world, and it’s all being documented, categorized and filed for anyone to view at the click of a button.
Employers and recruiters are checking
Whether you’re looking for employment in Kelowna or Vancouver, recruiters in small towns and big cities alike often follow the same candidate routines: reference screenings, aptitude tests, and Google searches.
“In fact, 90% of executive recruiters say they conduct online research of potential candidates, according to ExecuNet,” says Forbes contributor Chris Forman. Here’s what they are typically on the look out for:
- Proof of relevant professional experience.
- Content that suggests you would be a good cultural fit for the company.
- Industry-related conversations and contributions (ex: using Twitter to share interesting articles about your chosen field).
- Social media “red flags” – questionable posts, tweets and photos posted by or about you (ex: coarse language, negative discussions about past employers, displays of drug or excessive alcohol use).
As Forman says, “red flags” can take a promising candidate out of the running. That’s why it’s important to take your online reputation as seriously as your cover letter and resume.
Want help getting started? Next week, we’ll show you how to make your social profiles presentable (and impressive!) for employers.
It’s make or break
Last year, the Harvard Business Review shared research that reported 70% of recruiters and hiring managers have chosen not to hire a candidate based on their online findings of the person.
In other words, your web-based reputation could be the deciding factor in whether a recruiter or company hires you or not.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! Maintaining a positive, professional presence across platforms can set you apart in a competitive job pool and increase your chances of landing the position.
When an employer narrows the candidates for a specific position down to two (near-equal in skills, experience and professional background), he or she will likely chose the candidate with the better online presence. “Better” could mean a number of things – more professionally engaged, more committed to certain interests and passions, or just more apparently aware of how their actions online reflect their genuine character.
Bottom line? Be your best self
Consider the focus you commit to crafting a resume or putting together an outfit for an important interview. If you extend this sincere focus to managing your online reputation, you can’t go wrong.
The Internet provides a powerful platform for sharing what makes you unique amongst candidates – you passion, talent and skills. Why not take advantage?
Looking for employment in Kelowna or other regions across BC? Discover new opportunities – send us your resume today to get started!