Traditionally, applying for new jobs entailed sending a resume and a cover letter to your potential employer and waiting on their response. As the world grows increasingly digital, however, more and more employers do at least a cursory investigation of a potential hire’s online presence to help determine their suitability for employment. And with the job market growing more competitive and unpredictable than ever, it’s especially important to put your best foot forward online from the get-go. Read more about how to improve your online presence for better job-hunting results.
To get an idea of what hiring managers and recruiters will see when they look for you online, simply Google yourself. All the links that appear, such as your social media profiles and personal website if you have one, are the same ones that these people will likely be looking at to get a feel for who you are and what you might be like as a potential employee. Thus, if you’re currently job hunting or about to start, it’s in your best interest to clean up your online footprint before you start browsing your favorite Philippine job sites for openings.
Build Up Your Online Presence
Here are a few tried-and-true tips for creating a strong online presence that can help you land your dream job:
Audit Your Social Media Profiles
Before you start cleaning up your online presence, make a note of the accounts you currently maintain on different social media sites and other digital platforms. Delete or deactivate any accounts you don’t intend to use actively, or at the very least set them to private. You’ll also want to lock any accounts with very personal or unfiltered content that you don’t want prospective hiring managers to see. While setting these profiles to private isn’t entirely foolproof, doing so will at least make it harder for people to stumble upon any information you don’t want them to.
Once you’ve pared down your online accounts to just the ones you intend to update actively for the foreseeable future, check that your personal information is consistent and update it where necessary. This means that things like your handle, display name, bio, contact information, and other details should match across every online profile you maintain. This ensures that all your accounts communicate the same message about who you are, what you do, and where you can be found both online and offline.
Make a Personal Website
While some people might question the value of a personal website when you already have a resume, keeping a well-maintained one can also help you make a good impression on prospective employers. For one thing, your website isn’t limited by the same space and design constraints as a resume is. That means you can present your professional experience and accomplishments more creatively and in greater depth. You have full control over what information is highlighted, how it’s laid out, and how visitors to your website can interact with it.
Building your own website is also much easier than it used to be. Instead of coding the site from scratch yourself, you can start by looking for customizable resume or personal website templates that you can use for free. Whether you elect to build a resume site, a simple one-page website, or an online portfolio for your creative work, a good template will help you get it up and running in no time flat.
Filter Your Personal Photos
Social networks are places where you connect with friends and family, which means that unflattering photos are bound to show up on your profile eventually. Even if you’re careful about the photos you post to your own account, it’s highly likely that pictures your friends tag you in will show up on your timeline as well. And while most photos are harmless, you may want to make an extra effort to hide any that don’t paint you in a good light. Photos of you at wild college parties and other similar events are probably best set to “private” so that they don’t compromise a potential employer’s impression of you.
Update Regularly and Mindfully
Once you’ve cleaned up your online presence in preparation for your job search, it’s equally important to keep your website and social media profiles up to date over time. Make sure that recruiters can easily view your most recent achievements, projects, personal and professional milestones, and any other important information that will help them evaluate your capabilities. And once you land a job you love, your online presence should also reflect that you’re no longer on the job market.
Of course, your online accounts aren’t simply for job hunting. They’re also for sharing personal updates with your friends and connecting with other people in your social circles—and research does show that recruiters do appreciate such content because it helps them form a more holistic impression of you. However, it’s always good to be mindful of what you post publicly. Profanity-filled posts, posts mentioning alcohol consumption, controversial religious or political opinions, and other potentially contentious posts are best filtered for your friends only.
At its best, your online presence can help potential employers gain a preliminary understanding of your expertise, character, and fitness for the role you’re applying for. Applying the tips above will help you make the best possible impression and enhance your employability by leaps and bounds.