Job searching in the digital age
When Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook make your digital footprints visible to recruiters and selection committees, you can assume your online presence is being searched, creeped and crawled on a regular basis.
It sounds creepy, but those digital traces that we leave behind in social status updates, Instagram photoshares, blog comments, Amazon.com and eBay reviews, are easy for someone to recover with a little digital sleuthing.
Altogether this “small data” cumulates in a rather random online story about you — but is it accurate?
To tell a different story about yourself, one more relevant than that which Google’s algorithm compiles, you’ll need to be proactive. Consider taking the following steps to add a new and more meaningful, useful and current story about yourself for recruiters, event planners, headhunters, advisory boards, talent scouts, award and search committees to discover:
Write a different story
Launch that blog you’ve always thought about. Don’t know how to write code? Blogger (free and owned by Google), Tumblr and WordPress (also both free) make it easy with professional design templates, tech support walk-throughs and huge communities of users to turn to for advice and inspiration. Use your blog as a platform, mixing professional and personal (but always work-safe) content to tell a story about your lifestyle, workstyle and values — including the importance of work-life balance.
Make it personal
Purchase your vanity domain. In fact, purchase all of them. Protect your good name by grabbing your dot.coms, then pick up your.ca, .net, even your .guru (yes, this is available soon). Name often misspelled? Purchase that one too. Have a super popular name and someone else has already registered it? No problem. Consider branding yourself with a signature (even trademarked) title (e.g., LindaLifeCoaching, DesignByDave, FredFixIt), your city (MikeWardTO), a professional suffix (DrTim, ProfessoryGary) or certification (JimChenCFA). Looking for a graduation present for someone in your family? Gift them their domain names.
There’s one more reason to flex your digital creativity and mark your territory online. Taking charge and telling your story, documenting your special projects and passions, illustrating your goals and aspirations — these are all a total confidence boost. Actively maintain your online presence and the bonus is you’ll be reminded of just how far you’ve traveled on your personal career journey.
Fully employed or not, and especially if you work in a field currently experiencing a skilled labor shortage or skills gap, you just may be the passive “star talent” candidate a recruiter is searching high and low for today, online. As employers follow your digital footprints — and they will — be sure you’re one step ahead with an online story you’re proud of.
Show, don’t tell
Communicate your story visually. The truism that great images speak a thousand words has never been more relevant that today, with the rise of Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. The social Web loves photos. Take advantage of that by visually documenting your personal style, your city, professional accomplishments, volunteering and community engagement. Spread a little joy with awesome images and in the process you’ll engage and inspire others with a story of how you see the world.