Why Having an Online Presence Is Important for Job Searching - dummies

Why Having an Online Presence Is Important for Job Searching

By Joshua Waldman

If you really want to use social media as a tool to land your dream job, then you need to be willing to expand your presence online beyond just the basics. Information for just about everyone can be found online by someone who knows how to conduct the right search. That’s right. Personal information such as your name, address, and phone number are on the Internet.

Whether or not you can do the job you’re applying for will certainly help you pass screening and get your foot in the door. However, final decisions about your employment come down to your personality. Surveys have found over and over again that fit is the primary reason for hiring one person over another.

And one of the best ways to prove how well you can fit in at one of your target companies is by using social media sites to reveal your personality. A printed-out résumé (or even one viewed on a computer screen) can only witness to your skills; a profile on a social media site can demonstrate your passion, your personality, and your uniqueness.

Job recruiters will Google you

Regardless of whether you search for your name online to see what comes up, you can bet that someone else will — namely the hiring managers at most (if not all!) of the companies you apply to. Recruiters from almost every field and industry take classes each year to find out about advanced Google techniques that can help them find and screen talent.

In fact, many recruiters report that conducting Internet searches (mostly through Google) on the people they’re placing is part of their due diligence and responsibility. In other words, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t investigate your online presence.

The unfairness of this situation is that most people don’t know how to manage what information is found out about them online. So although you may be making a huge splash with great Google results from social media sites, your online presence may actually be a very serious liability. The solution? Proactively manage your online reputation.

Hiring managers are cheap

During the great recession of 2008 and 2009 (and arguably longer), organizations made some serious cutbacks. The first people to go at many companies were the HR recruiters, which meant the responsibility of finding and screening new talent shifted to the hiring managers — as in the people who make the final decision about your employment and typically become your boss after you come onboard.

In other words, hiring managers’ jobs are primarily not about hiring new employees; their day-to-day role usually has little to do with hiring because they’re paid for their performance at other functions.

What does that mean to you? Simply that hiring managers aren’t going to spend tons of their department’s time and money on fancy recruiting tools, databases, or placement firms. Most job boards are outside their budgets as well.

Instead, they’re going to rely on the cheapest and fastest ways of getting a stack of résumés, which often means leveraging their employees’ referral network, LinkedIn, and maybe even Twitter. They want to get through the process of finding the right candidate as quickly as possible so they can focus on other priorities.

Having a positive, consistent presence on various social media sites makes it easier for hiring managers to find you. Plus, with all the relationships you’re building through networking, an employee referral may take your résumé to the top of the pile.

Generic résumé blasts don’t work

If your next boss is using social media to find talent, then you need to be on social media sites, too. If all you’re doing is sending your résumé out to numerous companies via job boards and hoping for a phone call, you’ll likely not make it past the screening process at most companies or organizations.

Why? Because the company may be wading through hundreds of other generic-looking résumés. And when candidates send out general applications without researching the job, they can even get blacklisted.

An HR consultant was hired by a large pharmaceutical company who wanted her to send three qualified candidates to fill a specialized role. She posted the job on a large, well-known job board. Each week she received an e-mail résumé from this lady who was so completely unqualified, it was like having a taxi driver apply to be a surgeon.

After four weeks, she called the woman to find out why she kept applying to a job she was so shamefully unqualified for. The woman said, “I’ve never even heard of your company! I get e-mailed a list of job opportunities and push a button that applies to all of them at once.” The moral of the story? Don’t start your job search with the job boards.

Instead, spend time building your network on various social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.