If you’re looking for a job in the mid-2010s, you know you need an online presence. With a little bit of effort, your social media profiles, blog and other online markers may be the difference between helping you get a great job and keeping you at your current position. Let’s look at some easy tweaks that will help you revitalize the online extensions of your paper-and-ink resume.
Read the Experts
Of course, if you want to write a better biographical statement, you should find some good examples. Find the “about us” page of a few of the experts in your field and read their bios. If you can’t find a concise bio on company websites, look for articles they’ve authored or their LinkedIn page.
Print out one or two of these bios and highlight or underline the most powerful words in them. Note that these bios don’t usually use passive constructions (it was done) but active ones (I did it). Try to boil your experience down to a few lines using similarly powerful, active phrases. When potential employers see your new bio on your social media profiles, you’ll make a great first impression.
Focus on LinkedIn
Though not as fun as Facebook or timely as Twitter, a good LinkedIn profile is a must-have for am online presence that will help get you noticed by employers. According to About.com’s Jobsearch page, recruitment companies actively search through LinkedIn and other platforms looking for qualified candidates to match with vacant positions.
You can also use LinkedIn to join forums pertinent to your profession and to follow experts and their companies — or even a recruiting agency. This will make networking easy, and will also help you keep abreast of any news in your industry that might be an important talking point at your next job interview.
Scrub Your Other Profiles
Have you looked at your past activity on Facebook or Instagram? Did your Aunt Betty tag you in that Thanksgiving photo a few years back when you were three or four bottles of wine into the festivities? Did you go around liking a bunch of political pages at election time? Do you really want potential employers to know about either of those before they meet you face to face? Though those photos will likely always be “out there,” you can remove them from casual searches by managing your privacy settings and strategically hiding some old posts from your timeline or platform history.
If you really think that your social media presence in the past will hinder your job prospects at the moment, you may also think about disabling your social media for a time, though this is a truly extreme option.
Ask a Friend to Help
When you’re preparing your online bio and work history for LinkedIn or debating what to hide on your other social media sites, you might find that it’s overwhelming to think about your information objectively. Ask a friend or mentor to be your second pair of eyes and keep a lookout for grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes, continuity errors or items that might be inappropriate or misleading. Show them the profiles of the industry leaders you studied in our first step, and ask your friend for feedback to online presence as polished as the experts’.
Emphasize Your Skills
Not everyone feels comfortable about showing their skillsets to the world via social media. Though you don’t want to come across as self-aggrandizing, it is important to avoid complete modesty. On LinkedIn, highlight your talents and areas of expertise by asking contacts for recommendations and by posting these qualities on your profile. If you are unsure which skills you need to highlight, refer to any current job advertisements for positions you might consider. What skills do those jobs want? Those would be the ones you need to emphasize. This can also be a good topic to discuss with your friend or mentor.
Once you have landed your dream job, don’t stop paying attention to your online presence. When it comes time for a promotion — or your next dream job — you’ll have a solidly built, professional reputation to trade off.
About the Author: Simone Novotny manages social media for several clients.