The Internet and You: How to Prepare for the Job Hunt in the Digital Age
The internet has fundamentally changed the world and human culture, and the workplace has not been left unaffected. Our tools have changed, which impacts the way we do our jobs and even the way we search for employment opportunities.
If you’re thinking about looking for a new job but haven’t yet started the search, there are some things you should be doing to prepare. And if you’re already looking for work, you should have done these things already. Of course, it’s never too late to adjust course if you’ve missed something, and you can always make yourself better prepared for your future endeavors.
Today we’re going to walk through a few of the things that you should be doing online before you start looking for work.
Clean up your social media accounts.
The very first thing you should do when you start seriously considering a job hunt is to spot clean your social media profiles. Have you made controversial posts? Do you swear a lot? Have you been tagged in a lot of pictures that show you drinking alcohol (or worse)?
While it’s natural to want to share your wild side with your friends and family, you should be aware that potential employers are going to be looking at your social media profile. And if a hiring manager doesn’t do this work before you’re hired, you can be sure that your future coworkers will be more than willing to commit to the task.
We’re not recommending that you shut down your social media accounts. Being active online is actually a positive for job seekers, as it shows that you have some level of comfort working in a digital space. However, you should go through your profile and delete anything that might get you into trouble with a potential employer.
And yes, you should go back years if you need to. You never know how much time a potential employer will spend combing through your social media feed, or how thorough they’ll be. To make sure your social media accounts don’t’ become liabilities in the future, you should make sure your profiles are as squeaky clean as they can be.
Buy your own dotcom.
You should own your own name as a dotcom. For example, if your name is Judy Skylark, you should own judyskylark.com if possible. If that’s already taken, try adding your middle initial or middle name. Once you own the domain, you can build a website. Perhaps it’s a professional blog, or maybe it’s just a work portfolio.
There are several easy ways to build a website from scratch using services like WordPress or Wix, and the learning curve is a lot gentler than you might expect.
Owning your own website is important in the digital age for several reasons. The most important, perhaps, is that you can prove that you have a web-based skillset. If you’re able to build a website and publish your own content, you have shown a level of skill that might give you an edge in your job hunt, depending on the field you’re going into.
Another important reason to own your name as a dotcom is that you want to be in control of what comes up when someone does a Google search for your name. And that brings us to our next point.
Google your name.
We don’t necessarily recommend Googling your own name as a personal habit. If you’re not ready to see the distorted version of yourself that exists on the Web, then this can even be a bit troubling. Proceed with caution here.
However, a potential employer will almost certainly Google your name if they’re seriously considering hiring you. You should have an understanding of what that person is going to see so that you’re ready to address it. If there’s something that seems pretty scandalous, you might have an uphill battle ahead of you.
In extreme cases, there are services that can help you clean up the Google results for your name, but they can be spendy and time-consuming. The best practice in the short term is to publish content with your name attached to it whenever possible. In our previous point, we talked about buying your own dot com, and this is an essential step in taking control of the content that Google attaches to your name. Having multiple social media accounts helps too. By creating your own content, you can oftentimes make less flattering content seem more irrelevant, pushing it lower in Google’s search results.
Again, doing a Google search of your own name usually requires a thick skin, so be warned that this might take some getting used to.
Think about keywords.
It’s simply easier for an algorithm to look at resumes than for a person to do it. Using analytical software to look through resumes can save hiring managers a lot of time and energy, easing the hassle having to weed out unqualified applicants by hand.
For job seekers, this means that you have to start thinking about your resume in terms of keywords. Instead of trying to impress a human being with your resume, you’re actually trying to impress a machine. It takes some getting used to, but keyword-based resume writing is a learnable skill for anyone who decides to take the time.
If you want to learn more about keyword-based resume writing, here’s a pretty good resource from website The Balance Careers.
Research potential employers online.
We’ve spent most of this article talking about how to develop and clean up your online presence for when potential employers start seriously considering you as a hire. Now it’s time to turn the tables. While potential employers can find a shocking amount of information about you online, this is a two-way street.
When you’re looking into companies to apply with, you should be looking into their online profiles. How does this company act on social media? What are the company’s core values? Have people been reporting negative experiences with the company?
There are several tools available for you. Perhaps the easiest is to simply read customer reviews. If a company mistreats their customers or clients, you can be certain that they’re not treating their employees well either.
There are more specialized tools for looking at an employer, though. Glassdoor is the most popular of the many, many options you have for looking into a company’s employment reviews. If you see a company with a lot of former employees that leave bad reviews on the way out, you should consider this a potential red flag.
In the internet era, your online profile is more important than ever, and you should make sure that you’re always putting your best foot forward. While employers can learn a lot about you with their available online resources, you can also learn a lot about potential employers. You should definitely be taking advantage of the many tools that are available to you.
If you’re getting ready to look for work – especially in healthcare or audiology – contact Staffing Proxy today. We might be able to help match you with your dream career.
We wish you the best of luck on the job hunt!