Employers are looking at more than your resume. Make your online presence work for you and your career by avoiding these potential pitfalls
When you applied for your last job, chances are you didn't include a copy of your diary, your photo album or a selection of your social media comments. However, if you have an online presence employers can find this content online -- and new research reveals that more of them are looking.
A survey of over 3100 employers conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder.com found that 22 per cent of employers currently use social networking sites to research job candidates -- that's double the number from 2006. In addition, another 9 per cent say they plan to start. In total, roughly one third of employers will be checking up on candidates online.
Is this good news or bad news if you're looking for a job? That depends on what's in your profile. One third (34 per cent) of employers who used social networking sites discovered content that led them to eliminate a candidate from consideration -- but 24 per cent found information that positively influenced their decision to hire a candidate.
And social networking isn't the only source. Your website, blog and other online tools can also provide employers with valuable information. Even if you're not currently job hunting, learn how to avoid these common mistakes:
Mistake 1: Being too modest
Like it or not, job hunting is a marketing exercise so you should be using your social networking pages, websites and blogs as promotional tools. Otherwise, you're missing out on the opportunity to offer content that supports and expands on your resume.
Solution: You don't have to brag but you should include your accomplishments and successes, both personal and professional, as part of your profile. Remember, a bare profile won't help employers get to know you.
In addition, don't feel you have to limit yourself to words and pictures. The internet also allows you to incorporate audio and video to show off your work. Consider setting up a website to promote your work, create an online portfolio or set up an interactive curriculum vitae . If you're not tech savvy, try a service like Visual CV.
Mistake 2: Stale content
Simply having a membership to a social networking site or setting up a website is not enough. People expect them to be recent, and gaps in the content (like gaps on your resume) can pose questions.
Solution: Make sure to regularly update your digital resources to include new projects, responsibilities, qualifications and accomplishments. It's easier to document these things on an ongoing basis rather than trying to recall what you did over the past few months or years. Keeping a record can also be a boon when it comes to performance reviews as well. (For more information, see Blueprint for Financial Prosperity's post on Accomplishment Journals).
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