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How to Polish Your Online Presence Before Searching for a Job

Natalie Severt
Sep 27, 2016

To show recruiters that you're the right match for the job, you need the right kind of online presence. Here's how to make it shine.

To show recruiters that you’re the right match for the job, it’s true that you need an attention-grabbing resume. But you also need the right kind of online presence.

It’s only when you have both that you can ensure your attractiveness to recruiters.

That’s because the majority of recruiters are now going online to look you up once they’ve scanned your resume. They will do a general search on you, and they will check your LinkedIn profile.

If they find inappropriate content or if your LinkedIn profile isn’t up to snuff, it can be detrimental to your chances of getting an interview. Even if your resume is stellar.

Here are five tips to help you clean up your online presence, optimize your LinkedIn profile, and seriously boost your chances at landing that dream job of yours.

1. Here’s Why You Should Be Present Online

Do you ever wonder what recruiters do first after reading your resume? We’ve got the answer for you. The majority of recruiters (94 percent) will type your name into a search engine and screen your social media profiles. If that’s not enough to convince you that your online presence counts a lot, try this.

Recruitment-related searches make up for 30 percent of all Google searches. Some candidates believe going private on their profiles and removing personal information from the web is the most professional solution. After all, if recruiters can’t find anything about you on the Internet, they will never stumble upon information that puts you in a bad light, right?

The truth is, disappearing from the web and locking all of your profiles is a huge mistake. Most recruiters check candidates online not because they’re looking for weaknesses, but because they’re genuinely interested in learning more about their personal brands. In a recent survey carried out by CareerBuilder, more than 30 percent of employers admitted that they’re less likely to invite a candidate to a job interview if they can’t find them online.

Instead of hiding from recruiters, make sure you’re easy to find. Share your LinkedIn profile in your application to show recruiters that you care about your personal brand and status in the online community. Optimize your online presence to gain a competitive advantage over candidates who never made the effort to check their profiles.

2. Your Résumé and Online Profiles Should Tell the Same Story

Before searching for you on the web, recruiters will have already read your resume. That’s why you need to make sure that every element in your story checks out. Use your online profiles to confirm the information you included in your resume. This way you’ll be helping recruiters blend your offline and online profiles into one consistent professional image.

Pay attention to key facts and dates. Craft your online presence to deliver on the promises you make in your application. For instance, if you present yourself as a sales manager with an immense professional network, have plenty of endorsements and recommendations on your LinkedIn profile to serve as proof of your professional relationships.

It’s a good idea to tailor your resume every time you’re applying for a different job. But always make sure that it tells the same story as your online presence.

3. Review Your Posting History and Choose the Right Privacy Settings

How do you turn your online presence into an advantage for job hunting? Ensure that every single piece of content you post reflects your personal brand and shows your involvement with the industry. Have a look at your posting history. Delete posts which might interfere with the online image you’re building.

Remove these posts permanently. Hiding them won’t help you if somebody decides to take a screenshot and post it with your name tagged for everyone to see. The above is especially true for Twitter. Sure, you can make your profile private, but that doesn’t mean other users won’t be able to quote you. Just double check your content before posting it online, and you’ll survive recruiters’ scrutiny.

Consider the privacy settings of your profiles as well. They determine who can see your posts and how searchable your profile can be to various users. Make an effort to keep up with the latest privacy policy updates on social networks.

4. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile, Here’s How

LinkedIn is the largest professional community on the web, and it would be a shame not to tap into its potential for personal branding. Optimize your LinkedIn profile, and you’re bound to become a more attractive candidate.

  • Make your profile URL more user-friendly by customizing it to display your name instead of a string of random numbers.
  • Focus on the headline. It’s located right next to your name, and it should instantly grab recruiters’ attention. Express your professional aspirations to differentiate yourself from other professionals in similar positions.
  • Endorsements and recommendations help show off your network and give social proof to your skills. Ask your supervisors and colleagues to write this type of feedback for you and always return the favor. When writing recommendations, make them short, on-point, and full of details. Refer to projects in which you participated.

5. Remove Unwanted Mentions From Google Search Results

Sometimes all it takes to control your online presence is to type your name into Google. If you see results that compromise your personal brand, take action. Ask the search engine to remove these pages from its results by following this simple procedure. Note that Google has separate processes designed for primary results and Google Images.

If you spot some unwanted mentions on other search engines, for instance, Bing or DuckDuckGo, don’t worry. They both offer users feedback forms that allow for the submission of takedown requests for non-legal reasons.

Key Takeaway

Applying for a job is not only about crafting a perfect resume and writing a compelling cover letter. It’s also about developing a strong personal brand that shows recruiters that you’re a professional who knows how to manage their online image and use social networks to their advantage.

That’s why cleaning up your online presence is a critical step in the job hunt. Type your name into Google, check the search results, and polish your online profiles. Take full control of your online presence and build the reputation you need for scoring your dream job.

Image Credit:

Fizkes / Getty Images

Natalie Severt
Natalie is a former content writer for Zety, where she wrote about how to create successful resumes so that you can land your dream job. When she isn't writing, she eats tacos and reads complicated novels.