Almost no one would apply for a job without updating their CV, yet research shows many workers - especially those in the tech sector - don’t put the same kind of care into their online profile. No matter how professional and informative your CV is, in today’s internet connected world it’s unlikely an employer will stop there. He or she will want to conduct their own online research to determine if you really are who you claim to be.
LinkedIn is the most likely place for a HR recruiter to verify professional claims. In fact, a LinkedIn profile is like an online CV since this platform is mainly used for professional networking. Most future employers will also look at your public Facebook profile to double check the general details of your life and verify you’re not prone to social media activity that could embarrass the company. About 80 percent will run a Google search to pull up these pages as well as any other presence you may have on the web, so it pays to optimise you profiles and get them to rank on a search for your name. At ReputationDefender we assist clients with all types of reputation management, from personal SEO, to brand marketing, to dealing with compromising results.
LinkedIn Should Match Your CV
A survey conducted by Randstad Technologies compared the responses of 2,000 British workers in different fields. The questions covered some issues that have become more important recently, such as online reputation and job-application practices related to the internet. Among professionals in the tech field, 80 percent said they updated their CV with each job application, but more than half (55 percent) admitted they didn’t bother to update LinkedIn at the same time. Employees working in legal and finance sectors did better, with only about a quarter (24 and 20 percent respectively) saying they failed to update LinkedIn. However, it still wasn’t a given that workers would make a connection between their public web-profile and the information they sent to an employer on a job application.
If LinkedIn doesn’t match your CV, a future employer will likely assume one of two things: either you inflated your CV to make it sound better or you’re too lazy to bother updating LinkedIn. Hopefully, it’s the second scenario that’s true, but it won’t necessarily make much difference. Obviously, no one wants an employee who lies on their application; however, someone who doesn’t have the drive to accomplish basic updates isn’t that much better. Busy HR recruiters won’t take the time to figure out what’s going on, they’ll simply move on to someone who seems to have a more accurate online resume.
A good LinkedIn profile should include your latest work experience in the Position, Company and Location fields. Make sure your profile is fully public and the URL matches your name so it will appear on a typical Google search for you. Add embedded SlideShares and a WordPress blog to help show you take your career seriously.
Professional Social Profiles
In general, the workers surveyed by Randstad didn’t fully understand the importance of maintaining a positive online profile. Around a quarter of the tech professionals were aware that common social media blunders such as bad grammar, incorrect spelling and offensive content could be an issue, but close to two thirds (65 percent) weren’t concerned about recruiters looking up their social profiles before a job interview.
An up-to-date profile on LinkedIn will reinforce your professional expertise, but this won’t help much if you have ill-advised Facebook posts ranking publically or compromising pictures available through Instagram. For this reason, it’s a good idea to set yourself some basic online-conduct rules that will prevent mistakes like this from affecting your career:
- Keep your personal Facebook page set to ‘Friends Only’ and avoid posting content that could cause a serious problem if it became public.
- Use group settings to control who sees what.
- If you’re very active on Facebook, separate your public and private accounts and use a pseudonym for your personal page so it won’t appear on a search for your name.
- Refrain from commenting on articles unless you have the time to compose a tasteful, well-written post.
Public Instagram pictures can also pose a problem. Instagram was initially created with the idea of sharing everything with everyone. However, there is now a private setting which will only allow people you choose to view the photos. Unlike Facebook, you can’t control the setting for individual posts. It’s either one or the other, but it’s better to have a private account than to risk having your future boss click through compromising vacation photos.
Personal Branding: Your Online Reputation is Your CV
Whether you’re commenting on a news article or sharing a story with your friends, it’s important to stick to these basic standards in any internet communication. Even ‘Friends Only’ isn’t a very private setting if you have a huge friends list and, once you start writing comments on other’s posts, it’s hard to keep track of who can or cannot see what you’ve written. Go through and delete old or irrelevant posts regularly. Regularly update all bios and professional profiles with your latest career achievements. Remember that your online profile needs to reflect the professional personae you want to present to an employer.
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