Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Does Your Online Reputation Really Matter in the Job Search?

At a recent conference for career services professionals, there was a presentation by Joshua Waldman, an author and social media expert. In his presentation, he stated that 95% of hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates and 80% of employers admit to looking up candidates on LinkedIn before calling them for an interview. Additionally, they say that 50% of candidates are rejected because of something negative the hiring managers find online. It seems from the evidence that the answer to the title question is a resounding YES!

Your online reputation has become critical to your job search in today's market. Having a LinkedIn profile is no longer an option - it is a requirement and an expectation. However, your online reputation goes much deeper than just creating a bare bones LinkedIn profile. Here are some additional areas for you to consider.

  • Conduct a Google search on your name and see what comes up, you might be unpleasantly surprised. If you share a name with a controversial character or a popular celebrity, your presence may be harder to find. Be sure to include your LinkedIn link on your resume so HR can find you.
  • Clean up your Facebook presence - both on your page and on your friends' pages. Evaluate pictures of yourself to ensure there is nothing inappropriate. If you would not want your Grandma to see it, chances are your potential employer won't like it either!
  • Evaluate your Twitter and Facebook accounts for posts on controversial topics such as religion and politics. Don't get screened out of the job because you and the hiring manager don't agree on which political party to support. You would not discuss your religion in the work place, you probably should not talk about it online either. 
  • Ensure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete. Not having your LinkedIn profile 100% complete, with a professional photograph, is like putting on your best interview suit with old ratty tennis shoes. Put your best foot forward in your online reputation by optimizing the tools LinkedIn offers to you.

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