But many of us fail to see what we look like online. There’s not a lot you can do the day of an interview to make your online presence stand out, but with a little planning you should be able to dilute the impact of embarrassing photos and drunken online rants you regretted the moment you hit publish.
Well, the SavvyIntern.com has some good advice – proving once again the student can be the teacher. In article entitled, “5 Things Employers Want To See When They Google You,” the site advises, “You already avoid pictures with red Solo cups. You don’t share anything you wouldn’t want your mom to see. And you keep a close eye on your privacy settings. But this alone is not enough to make you hirable. Because when employers search online, they want your digital presence to give them more than a person free of red flags.”
As the site says, “Employers want to get a sense of – buzzword warning – your authentic self.” (Kudos to SavvyIntern for warning us about the buzzword.)
Here is their list of the 5 things:
- A Likeable Personality
- Appropriate Endorsements
- A Consistent Public Persona
- The Right Kind of Private Life
- Alignment of Values
Lets look at the personality issue first. As SavvyIntern says, employers seek people who seem stable, friendly, curious, creative and reliable. It helps if you have online relationships through Facebook and LinkedIn. Show your ability to network and it could demonstrate you know how to play well with others.
Appropriate endorsements ties back into the whole Facebook, LinkedIn networking. Don’t affiliate yourself online with groups that are going to cast you in a negative light. It might be good to scrub those relationships as soon as possible. And, feel strongly about maintaining those connections? Consider doing it under an alias. If it works for celebrities it can work for you.
A consistent public persona sounds like advice for aspiring politicians but it applies to anyone in the public spotlight. (Anybody online is in the public spotlight.) Employers want to see you think before you post. Review your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Delete posts that might present you in an unsuitable light.
The right kind of private life is just what it sounds like. Show yourself doing grown up hobbies like fine dining, exercise and travel. Highlighting your Minecraft wizadry might just work against you at all but gaming companies.
Alignment of values sounds simple because it is. If the company’s reputation is fairly conservative, try not to be online with posts counter to their culture.
This is the real tricky part when it comes to alignment of values. Remember that religion is not necessarily going to work in your favor. Previously we had written about a University of Connecticut study that found Muslims face discrimination in hiring. In a study of New England hiring habits, researchers found, “applicants expressing any religious identification received 19 percent fewer overall contacts than the applicants from the non-religious control group.”
The UConn study also looked at Southern hiring habits. “The Southern study found that religious resumes received 29 percent fewer emails and 33 percent fewer phone calls than the control-group resumes; but Muslim applications got 38 percent fewer emails and 54 percent fewer phone calls than the non-religious control group,” the study determined.
Get online. Google yourself. Share your results with trusted advisors. Start scrubbing or, almost as effectively, start writing new material. Maybe employers won’t look beyond the first two pages of Google results.