Traditional resumes will always be a critical part of the recruiting process, but they’re not the only things hiring managers look at anymore—not even close. Thanks to our increasing participation in various social media sites, hiring managers can now quickly find a wealth of information about job candidates simply by typing their names into Google.
Between your LinkedIn page, Facebook and Twitter profiles, and personal blogs and websites, it’s easy to learn quite a bit about anyone online. Together, these sites comprise a person’s social resume. Like a traditional resume, they can give employers a sense of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Unlike that straightforward, one-page document, they’ll also reveal insights into your personality, from how you spend your spare time to what kind of people you associate with.
If you’re hunting for a job, it goes without saying that your social resume should be as polished and professional as your traditional resume. The good news is, you most likely already have a head start—you just have some cleaning up to do.
Start with what you have. Here’s a fun exercise we all can admit to doing every now and then: Google your name. Most likely, the first few pages of results will include links to your various social media accounts, your blog and/or website (if you’ve got them), comments you’ve made on other blogs and websites, etc. Click on each link and do a quick scroll-through (and don’t forget to search images as well!). How do you think a stranger would assess you based on these sites? Is your online presence fairly clean and professional, or is it peppered with poor grammar, profanity, and drinking references? No one expects you to focus on work at all times online, but it’s important that all posts maintain some level of maturity. Studies have shown that up to 70 percent of employers have rejected job applicants because of something they found on social media.
Create a name for yourself. On the other hand, what if nothing about you pops up when you search your name? Whether you’ve got a common name, a well-known “name twin,” or you just haven’t been particularly active online, you’ll need to take some steps to show up in the search results. Consider buying the domain for your full name, creating a LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already, and simply taking the time to create an active online presence that positions you as a qualified job candidate.
Curate your links. While you can’t always control what people will find about you on Google, you can take steps to guide recruiters in the right direction by creating a curated, easy-to-access list of your best links. This is where a personal website comes in handy (notice we keep mentioning that?). It’s well worth it to create a page with links to your most professional online profiles—including LinkedIn, Klout, Twitter, and Facebook—as well as links to work that you’re most proud of.
Don’t censor yourself too much. When you’re looking for a job—or even if you’re not—you should always stop and think before posting anything online. What would a potential employer think if they saw what you’re about to post? If you’re not sure, it’s probably better to keep it to yourself. However, you still want potential employers to be able to glean some sense of who you are. Ultimately, they’re trying to figure out if you’ll be a good fit for the company, professionally as well as personality-wise. Don’t be afraid to share some insight into your hobbies and interests beyond your professional life. Don’t just blindly post links; share your comments and opinions as well. Use your online presence to paint a picture of your best self—the side of you that anyone would be lucky to have on their team.
Michelle Kruse is the editor and content manager for ResumeEdge. She has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience for companies such as Novartis and IBM, in addition to a background in coaching and a master’s in leadership development.