Where in the past a personal introduction, solid resume and winning interview might land that dream position, today’s job search demands that job seekers also have a carefully curated personal brand online.
Recruiters and hiring managers are turning their attention online to not only find top talent, but to vet them as well. In fact, 83% of recruiters believe they will be even more reliant upon digital sources to do their jobs over the next five years. (4)
And it’s not just recruiters who are paying attention. In a 2015 CareerBuilder-Harris poll of 2,000 U.S. HR managers across different industries, 35% reported that they are less likely to interview a candidate for whom they can’t find any information online.
So, how can you differentiate yourself in a vast sea of job seekers? We’ve compiled a three-step plan for crafting your unique brand, putting your best foot forward online and nailing your next career move.
Step 1: Inventory and Clean Your Digital House
With social media a fixture in modern life, the line between personal and professional identities can easily blur. Start by taking stock of what already exists online by Googling your name. Clean up what you can on your personal social media platforms, then follow these guidelines moving forward:
- Keep it positive or at least neutral: From posts to comments, negativity about work and/or past or current employers can exclude you from consideration by up to 69% of recruiters. (4) Despite your privacy settings, social media has a way of connecting seemingly unrelated people who might see something you hadn’t intended.
- Keep the party pictures to yourself: Most recruiters and potential employers generally don’t want to see photos involving alcohol or other party behavior.
- Keep it polished: While text messaging norms would have you believe otherwise, correct spelling and proper grammar still matter. Take a second to proofread your posts before publishing.
Step 2: Customize Your Resume and Keep Your Website Current
Thirty percent of the workforce changes jobs every 1 to 3 years. (1) That’s a lot of competition. In fact, for each open corporate position, 250 resumes on average are submitted.(3) And many of those are submitted via online tools on company or third-party websites. Increase your chances of rising to the top with a standout digital resume.
- Tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying. Use the same keywords listed in the job posting in your resume (5) and keep the content focused on relevant experience.
- Streamline formatting and fonts. Stick to one sans-serif typeface throughout the entire document. Additionally, keep the layout simple and consistent, using dashes instead of bullet point symbols and left-justifying the content. (5)
- Update your personal website. Seventy percent of recruiters say that a personal website can provide more insight into the creativity and personality of a candidate than a resume alone. (3)
Step 3: Establish a Presence in Professional Communities
In today’s job market, your professional identity should exist beyond LinkedIn (but that’s important, too). And while some positions and industries weight a digital footprint more heavily than others, it can really pay off to spend some time establishing your expertise within your community. (2)
- Write and post blog articles on best practices, common issues or emerging trends relevant to your industry to establish yourself as a thought leader in your space. This can be done either via your personal website (see Step 2) or by contributing articles to other outlets. Once published, remember to share across all your channels to increase exposure.
- Regularly contribute to online professional forums or groups that give you the opportunity to network, share and receive relevant tips and strategies, and help others in your field.
- Join and actively participate in professional associations related to your industry. Not only is this good for your resume, but it’s a great way to stay in the loop about opportunities within your field.
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