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Looking for a job? Prepare to be Googled

This article appears in:
Changing Careers, Future & Focus

These days, more and more employers are using social media to screen job candidates. Some companies even have someone on staff whose job it is to explore your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other accounts to gauge whether you’ll be a good fit for the company. And while curating your social media presence can help you land a job, so is making sure your resume is current and relevant. Here are a few tips on luring an employer online and on paper.

Some things you can delete and some you’ll have to live with

Employers may expect you to know that they’ll scrutinise your online presence.

Shaving off your friend’s eyebrows while they were asleep, then posting photos on Facebook may have seemed hilarious all those years ago. Not so funny now though.

If an employer finds that post, for example, they may think you don’t care about getting the job because you didn’t bother to delete it. If you anticipate what an employer wants, though, you may be able to curate (Read: delete) posts that now make you cringe.

Here’s what employers are looking for when they Google you:

  • information that supports your workplace qualifications
  • your online professional profile
  • what do other people say about you?
  • are there any good reasons not to hire you?

In search of yourself

Use a search engine on yourself and see what comes up in the results. Is there something that a potential employer won’t find amusing? If something looks inappropriate, it probably is.

You don’t need to bring down your entire account if you’re able to delete only controversial content. Scrutinise your photos, comments, affiliations with other people and more. If in doubt, delete!

When you search for your name, your LinkedIn profile will often show up. It’s worth making regular updates to your profile in terms of your education, awards, work, and volunteer experience. And stay in the loop by creating a Google alert that will tell you when your name appears online.

Another way you can control more of your own narrative is to set up a website that hosts your portfolio. That way you can channel employers to what you want them to see in the hope that they’ll focus on that. These days, the process of setting up a personal website it made much easier with website builders such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and WordPress

Prepare to be Google - what to delete

Don’t forget the basics

In addition to cleansing your social media accounts, update your resume and cover letter to reflect the job you’re applying for. Hiring managers often glance at resumes for only a few seconds, so make yours count. Here are some basic tips:

  • use consistent formatting and make it clean and easy to read
  • spellcheck, proofread once, twice, three times and then have a friend check it for you
  • make sure your cover letter and resume target the job you’re applying for. Sending out a generic resume is the quickest way to ensure it will be discarded
  • limit your resume to between two and four pages.

In conclusion, what do your online presence and your resume tell employers? Are you sending the right messages? Try to view your information as though you were in a hiring manager’s shoes. What do you see? When it’s all said and done, would you hire you?

Fortunately, CDU students and recent graduates can chat to the expert staff within the university's Careers and Employment Team. They're here to help improve your chances of securing your dream career, by offering helpful, practical advice.

 

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This article appears in:
Changing Careers, Future & Focus

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