New year, new you? Here’s a different way of thinking about it: Try crafting a new online persona.
According to a study by CareerBuilder, 70 percent of employers are checking out your online presence during the recruiting process. And part of that examination is seeing whether you actually have one in the first place. That means simply putting yourself on private mode is not enough.
Employers want to see you not only putting your right foot forward online, but also doing so in a communicative and tech-savvy way. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
1. Pick One Social Account to Make Public
Let’s face it: There are some things that aren’t work-appropriate that we still want to post, even though we know not to. Even a caption with explicit lyrics or a squad photo with drinks on a beach could be considered too risqué for certain employers. That’s why you should have a designated public-facing account.
So, pick one platform like Instagram or Twitter that you’ll leave public (Facebook is usually strictly for “friends” anyway). Make sure you prune any inappropriate or negative content. Stick to the stuff that you think is important and representative of your personality.
This account can serve as a great way to show employers and recruiters that you’re a normal, intelligent human being who knows how to work a computer and form whole thoughts.
2. Get Active on Professional Social Media
Nobody wants to be that person who is constantly posting obnoxious “rise and grind” quotes on social media. However, by posting a few thought leadership articles about the industry you’re in (or hoping to enter), you can make a good impression without looking like a poser.
Don’t know where to start with this? Try reading a few articles per month from professional blogs, and posting one or two that stand out to you on your public social media account. This shows potential employers that you’re well read, curious, and serious about your career.
If you can’t think of any “industry” or professional blogs, try looking up your field plus “blog” or “newsletter” (e.g. “Marketing blog,” “engineering newsletters”).
3. Make a Website
Making a [your name here].com might be the perfect way to showcase yourself on the internet. This is especially useful if you’re in any sort of creative field, from writing, to marketing, to academia. You can use this place as a host for anything, from work examples to particularly-polished PowerPoint presentations. Even if the field you’re entering doesn’t require writing samples or a portfolio, it’s nice to be able to show that you’ve written, researched, or did something that takes effort and discipline.
4. Publish an Article or Research Paper
It’s not hard to get into the writing game, at least on an amateur level. Whether you’re writing about a college student’s perspective on your future industry, a reflection on your latest summer internship, or some sort of research you’ve done for school, it’s all valuable when it comes to showing your interest in the field.
You don’t need to pitch your article or paper to an official publication either. You can publish it on your own website (see #4) or a free blog like Medium. This will also make the process more convenient and freeform: On your own site, you’re the editor-in-chief.
5. Let Companies Know You’ve Applied on Social Media
If you’re particularly proud of your social media presence, then feel free to reach out on social media after applying. Sending them a tweet, a reply, or even a DM on Instagram letting them know that you’re excited about the company and the role can help to form the impression that you’re sociable and courageous. It’s also another opportunity to have employers check you out online, which can put you top-of-mind when it comes to decision time.