How To Bulletproof Your Online Profile
There’s a lot of conflicting advice available for job seekers when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of Social Media.
One thing’s for sure – for employers, social is becoming one of the most effective channels to find impressive candidates, and conversely - it’s a great way for you, as a candidate to (a) find your perfect job, and (b) put your best foot forward, in a world where all media is social – including your CV (anyone heard of Linkedin?).
This article concentrates on bolstering your online profile, as opposed to explaining how to find a job via social searching (which we’ll cover in part 2).
A few months ago we participated in a live Q&A with the Guardian on social media for job seekers which generated a lot of interest, so in response, we’ve put together a guide for you to copy, and paste into your job seeker’s toolkit.
1. Know Thyself.
To destroy your enemy, you must find him, face him, and then become him. (From Face/Off)
This sounds very simple, but Google yourself. (Make sure to sign out of google, and associated accounts, and open up an incognito browser window so your search is not affected by your browsing history).
Your results will generally be split into 2:
1) You’ve a unique first and last name, you’ve done something of notoriety in your local google market, or you keep up a good online profile, and you’re easily found (this is good) or
2) You’re not found at all, and you’re so anonymous, even the NSA can’t track you down (this is still ok, because that’s what this article is going to help you with).
2. Do A Complete Social Media Audit, On Yourself
You’re going to do it for the company you’re meeting, right? So, it’s highly likely the recruitment consultant or hiring manager will potentially do the same to you.
Remember, once a recruiter or employer has your CV, they’re free to enter in all sorts of search queries regarding you and your work history, and start playing sherlock. So it’s probably a good time to pay some more attention to what you’re posting, and what you’ve created.
You might want to create a document featuring a table, and list all the online properties you own that you’re aware of, and separately, a link to all of the places you show up that you don’t manage (i.e. a webpage that someone else has published).
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a clearer picture on what’s out there and what’s potentially accessible to prospective employers.
3. Once You’ve Done Your Audit.
One by one, scan your online profiles, and check if they need to be cleaned up – in particular – check your Facebook privacy settings by using the ‘view as’ tool. Are you happy with what comes up?
What about Twitter? How does your timeline look?
How does it present you to the world – are you a respectable member of the twitterverse, RT’ing Stephen Fry?
Generally, in a prospective hire, it’s good to see a mix of personal and professional interests tweeted, as this displays a level of maturity and competence that shows you can walk the fine line of appropriation, and are comfortable talking about a wide variety of subjects to different people – all hallmarks of someone that you can send into the workplace and thrive.
4. Evaluation And Reflection Time (This Is What You Do After The Audit)
When you put it all together, and the picture is drawn, what does your online trail say about you?
In 2014, in our hyper-social world, it certainly asks questions of a candidate if they don’t have an online presence. Social media isn’t simply something that connects you to your friends – it’s also a way of communicating with stakeholders in a business, and externally – another way that can link you to your industry peers – so you need to think about how you can use it in your professional life.
In the workplace, social networks like Yammer are being utilised as not only a way of sharing information inside an organisation, but also as a staff engagement tool – it’s incredibly empowering when an employee feels they’re being heard by a colleague, or decision maker, and using social media intelligently shows that you can communicate with other human beings!
On the flipside – if you can’t muster social skills on or offline, communicating with other people is going to be fairly difficult, and as a potential candidate, this puts you at a massive disadvantage.
5. Well, Now All That’s Been Said And Done, It May Be Time To Start Writing.
Ryan Hoover, a US-based entrepreneur, published an article on thenextweb.
In it, Ryan says:
“Blogging is an effective way to illustrate expertise, personality, and most importantly, thought process. The way product managers, UX designers, and other “non-technical” roles think, communicates their ability and culture fit. Resumes lack this entirely”.
I have to wholly agree with this statement, and if the thinking is sound, then it’s more proof to back up your CV and working history than simply a CV and a Linkedin account. If you’re looking for a competitive advantage – this is the smoking gun.
Blogging is more popular than ever, and nothing backs this up more than Yahoo purchasing Tumblr for nearly $1billion last May, or the launch and frenetic early adoption of ‘Medium’ – a blogging platform created by Twitter’s co-founder, Ev Williams, as “the place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters”.
Your blog can be the place to to explain your obsession with retail analytics, colour blocking, digital sampling rates, workplace engagement, design-thinking, or the latest marketing automation systems – whatever it is that gets you going, professionally. If you’re good, and you’ve got the knowledge – turn it into content that can be shared.
It’s obviously not the be all and end all if you’re not blogging. If you can dedicate time to it and it’s of good quality great! If you’re not blogging, it’s ok – there’s plenty of other ways to peacock a potential employer.
If you want to get started, check out the list of links below for some good platforms on which to start blogging:
Tumblr – Purchased by Yahoo last year, Tumblr powers 170 million blogs.
WordPress – Free + Open Source. Wordpress is used by more than 18.9 million of the world’s largest websites!
Medium – The new kid on the block! Attractive UI, and very easy to get started.
Part two of this article will cover finding your ideal job via social, using your network to assist with your job search, and learning how your carefully managed online presence will assist the search. For now – all that’s left is let your passions loose and let your ideas flow!