February 21, 2014

What Does your Online Profile Reveal About You?

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No matter your opinion or view on this topic, it doesn’t change the facts—whatever is published online specifically about you DOES have a significant impact on your career.

That said, here’s a list of essentials to guide you and your career to success through solely through your online profiles.

Let’s start with an exercise and a few basics—repeat after me,

1. There is no such thing as a personal or private online profile.

If you accept this and take it to heart, you have taken the first step to enhancing your online resume. All of this is based on the fact that employers, hiring managers, recruiters,and potentially your next boss will conduct a thorough Google and social search of your name and/or previous employers just to see what they find. In today’s virtual social world, a little common sense begs the question,

“What better way is there to uncover an individual’s true colors—not just the one they portray in an interview– than an online search?”

As a marketing guru and talent acquisition professional at heart, it never ceases to amaze me at how MOST people I encounter on a daily basis are clueless as to the effect of the information that is published by or about them online.

As previously mentioned, your personal profile(s) are fair game because they are in the public domain—even in most cases where you think they are ‘private.’ Remember that anyone whom you’ve ‘friended’ or ‘connected’ with online has access to your information and can simply copy and paste it and/or publish anywhere they so choose. So just assume that any photo from a party last weekend, or an intimate chat you had recently about a relationship gone bad may not be an intimate as you originally thought.

I’ve seen countless situations where someone had a job-offer rescinded or they were declined an offer simply because of what was discovered about them online.

2. Your profile photo on almost every major social site is public and will rank highly in search results if someone searches using your name.

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I’m blown away at so many of the pics I see just on Linkedin and Facebook alone. It is ALWAYS better to have a professional headshot in a public domain than a group photo from a recent party on your Cancun vacation. It’s hardly worth mentioning that a pic of your adorable pet, Frank the exotic bird, isn’t going to present you in the best light unless you are applying for an open zookeeper position.

3. On job board profiles and professional networks, be sure your work history (resume) is tailored to the job you want—not just the job you have.

For example, if you are a twenty-something with an engineering degree, currently working in a Textile plant, but seeking a career in Aerospace, you don’t need your night shift position at Taco Bell while you were in school listed on your profile. Instead, emphasize the key points in your current role that will catch the eye of your intended target—that being your next Employer.

Employers and Recruiters DON’T CARE about how well rounded of an individual and professional you are. Did I mention that they don’t care? “Jack-of-all-trades” is synonymous with ‘Unemployed.’ This is a VERY prevalent myth among job seekers. So the take-away here is to tailor your resume/profile according to the desired result.

4. How you present yourself (or how others present you) online essentially reflects your Brand.

What are you selling today? What are you selling to others about you? Everyone is selling something 24/7 online. Think of it like this, if you desire to one day be a CEO, do your portray yourself as suitable for such a role? Or are you more aligned as ‘life of the party’ or ‘stay-at-home mother extraordinaire,’ or ‘fitness-lingerie model,’ or do you make everyone suspect that you are in the running for the Guinness Book of World Records for the most tattoos on a single human body?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of these designations if that’s who you desire to be, but don’t be surprised when the big promotion or the next big thing doesn’t come calling.

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