Are Your First Impression Online Standing In The Way Of Your Career Ambitions?
Some time ago I received an email from someone on Linkedin. She was frustrated over her career situation and the fact that she never got called in for interviews when she applied for jobs in the field she wanted to work in.
From reading her email there were no doubt in my mind she had a burning desire to work and contribute with her knowledge and passion in this field.
Since I didn’t know her, I did, what I’m sure any recruiter or other hiring professional would do. I Googled her…
What showed up on page one was enough for me not to go any further. In the top five, there was three critical hits on her name. All comments on websites and forums where she expressed her opinion in a very explicit and not very fortunate way.
So, if any hiring professional were to find what I did by doing a simple Google search, then I totally understood why she never got invited in for interviews.
She Was Devastated!
I went on to reply the email and told her what I had found. She was devastated and wrote back saying, she thought those comments were long gone since she had written them years ago.
This is just one story of many about how our, sometimes mindless, use of social media and our behavior online can come back and bite us in the butt.
Like my great friend and Online Reputation Expert, Wayne Denner says;
It’s what you’ve posted in the past that will come back and haunt you in the future.
- Wayne Denner
That was the exact thing that happened in this case. Her online footprints came back to bite her and put a huge dent in her career ambitions.
But fortunately, there are ways to clean up unfortunate comments or posts tied to your name.
You can always reach out to webmasters and politely ask to have whatever comment you’ve made removed.
Since your first impression online can either make or break your career ambitions in today’s job market, I always do an Online Career Brand Assessment before starting any mentorship when working with professionals. I do that in order to get a clear picture of the candidate, pretty much like hiring managers do, before we dive into the mentorship and the more proactive part of career branding.
A recent survey made by CareerBuilder, showed that 60 percent of hiring managers use social media platforms to research potential candidates and to that, you can add that 59 percent also uses search engines like Google and Bing when they do their research.
That is why your first impression online is becoming increasingly more important than your real life first impression when it comes to your career.
Take Ownership Of Your Online Career Brand
One thing I found interesting in the survey was that 44 percent of hiring managers and employers have hired a candidate because their website conveyed a professional image.
As a Career Branding Specialist, my number one advice to anyone who wants to stand out in the noisy job market is to have a personal career website, and there are multiple reasons why I recommend everyone to take complete ownership of their online career brand by having a personal career website.
Reason #1 — You Are Not In Control On Social Media
Are you building your brand on a rented lot?
- Michael Hyatt
One of my all-time favorite virtual mentors Michael Hyatt said this on a webinar of his I attended some time ago and he just nails it.
You don’t own anything you create or share on social media, and you’re not in control of the changes the different platforms will make in the future. That makes your career brand very vulnerable.
Your accounts can get hacked and then you’re left with nothing and all your connections etc. will be gone.
Just a few weeks ago, I came across a comment on a post I was tagged in on LinkedIn by a guy I didn’t know. He was a relation- and marketing officer at a large Danish company and the comment seemed completely out of context, calling the person who had shared the post, something not very nice.
It turned out the account had been hacked and someone was making this guy look really bad in front of everyone.
Additional read: Branding Yourself⎟Are You Making This Mistake?
Reason #2 — Take Complete Ownership Of Your Career Brand
Having your personal career website will be your property and something that can help you build a solid online presence.
A career website will give future employees a much better sense of who you are as a person since you can make your personality shine through in a more personal way compared to a static Linkedin profile that pretty much looks like all the other profiles on there.
Reason #3 — Build Your Personal Knowledge Powerhouse
Don’t just have your resume and contact information on your career website. Create a powerhouse of content, build on topics you’re professionally passionate about and like to work with.
Forty-nine percent of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate
Reason #4 — Attract Likeminded People To Your Network
Every time you add content to your site you’re inviting people to walk in the door and people will find you based on that content.
To help people find your content you should share it on relevant platforms like Linkedin, Twitter or where you see it fit.
Additional read: How To Get Career Success Through A Go-Giver Mindset
(interview with co-author of ‘The Go-Giver’ Bob Burg)
Reason #5 — Attract Better Career Opportunities
When you become known for your passion and skills, chances are you’ll begin to attract more of the right kind of career opportunities.
So instead of being a job seeker, a personal career website can help you become a job attractor which is a much better situation to be in, especially when you take the development in the job market in consideration where companies seem to be hiring more on short-term and part-time contracts.
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