It’s always intimidating when you begin looking for employment. There are hundreds of methods of looking for work, there are so many things to remember and it seems like there’s an endless landscape of opportunity, if only you knew where to look for it and if only there were fewer people just like you looking just as hard.
Still, after sending out a slew of resumes, you may find that you’re simply not getting the response that you expected. It’s true that the job market is incredibly glutted but if, after around three months, you’re still not getting any calls for interview, then it might be time to evaluate your approach. One of the first things to consider, especially if you’re looking for a job that has a PR, marketing or social media element, is that it is extremely likely that your potential employer has checked out your online presence. So then, as much as it may fill some of us with bile-spitting terror, it’s important to take a hard look at the way you present yourself online and evaluate whether or not your digital practices are costing you job interviews.
Log out of everything.
It’s important to see yourself as an objective observer would, so make sure that you’ve logged out of every social media outlet that you partake it: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Quora, Pinterest, Linked In…you get the idea. You might also want to make a list of every social media tool that you use – it’s an useful exercise if only because you can see how and where you are spending your time.
Google yourself and hide everything problematic.
Now it’s time to see the ugly truth. How do you appear to strangers researching you online? Oh, we’ve all heard the lectures about keeping your Facebook privacy settings ramped up but it’s surprising what can slip through the cracks. Make sure you visit your Facebook page as a ‘stranger’ to see if anything incriminating or embarrassingly drunken rears its head. If it does, you can always access your privacy settings when you’re logged into Facebook (they’re in the top right) and make sure that your private life is only visible to your friends. You can even change your Facebook name if you wish so that you won’t appear on search engines. However, make sure you’re not too creative as Facebook has a nasty habit of seeking out and denying fake names. So too with Twitter – you might run the most perverse, hilarious and personal feed around but never forget that everything is in public and that anyone can read anything you write, unless you make your account ‘friends-only.’ It’s not about censoring yourself, it’s about identifying where you’re shooting yourself in the foot and then finding a way to be yourself whilst avoiding alienating those that would potentially call you in for a job interview.
Consider your new online persona
Once you’ve tweaked your privacy settings, your task is to ascertain what parts of yourself you want to make public. If the thought of locking down your twitter account makes you feel ill (privacy is sort of the anti-Twitter – of course you want to speak to the world) then consider reshaping your social media output into something that will actually help you. It’s easy to take your real name off your weird Twitter account – if you’re concerned, then do it. Then you can set up another Twitter account using your real name and use it to tweet about the things you care about in a vocational sense. If you want to work in PR and marketing, ferret out interesting news, articles and projects and tweet about them. Then, you can use the account to follow and engage with with other professionals in your chosen field. This means you can carry on being odd and hilarious online and still have a perfectly reasonable business-facing persona that makes you look like a model of employability. It’s worth too making sure your LinkedIn profile is updated, professional and eye-catching as it is often the first place that potential employers look. Keep it cogent, add a flattering, professional picture and make sure that your paragraphs are short, concise and punchy. Think of LinkedIn as your shopfront window and write your advertising copy accordingly. Remember: you’re the meat, the shiny new bike, the brave new world. Good luck!
License: Creative Commons image source
Dana Stephens writes and gives great advice about marketing, graduate jobs and freelance working.