By Amanda Clark
Gone are the days when searching for a new job meant hand-delivering your resume and waiting for phone calls from employers who were interested. Today’s job hunts are much more complex, thanks to the World Wide Web. From online applications to email, the Internet has provided new methods of communication between companies and interested candidates.
But this is not the only way in which the World Wide Web has vastly changed the job seeking process. You see, hiring managers and recruiters often use the information from the Internet to inform their decisions regarding who to interview and hire. This means that anything that shows up under a Google search for your name may be perused by the professionals that you want to impress.
If this sounds a bit scary, it can be—but only if your online presence is in shambles. With the following five tips, you can polish up your Internet image and increase the odds of landing interviews.
Check your privacy settings on social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites rank really, really well on Google. As such, your profiles will probably show up on the first page of search results. It’s important that your privacy settings don’t allow anyone who isn’t connected with you on the site to see the details of your account. You may choose to hide your profile altogether or to only reveal certain information.
Fill out and maintain a strong LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is an important asset on today’s job market. Recruiters and hiring managers use this tool to further develop their understanding of their top candidates. This is a professional networking site, so make sure you use the various resources that it offers and connect strategically with other members so that you can improve the chances of being noticed by the right people.
Rewrite your bios on your social networking profiles. If you opt to allow people to look at your Facebook and other profiles when they search for you, make certain that the information that they find will support the idea that you will be a trustworthy, reliable, and enthusiastic employee. While your favorite quotes from the reunion trip you took with your frat brothers last summer might be funny to those in the know, it’s probably best to forgo these on your profile. Same goes for your photo—choose something that you wouldn’t mind your boss seeing.
Update your portfolio. If you are a creative professional, such as a writer or Web designer, it is important that you have an online portfolio. This needs to be updated regularly, so that potential employers can see your latest work. Make certain, though, that the portfolio is well-designed so that you improve a viewer’s understanding of your work, rather than confuse it.
Consider creating a personal website. This decision should, really, be based upon the kind of work that you do. Consultants, freelancers, and contractors should all consider investing in a personal website if they plan on doing this type of work full-time or long-term.