According to Jobvite's 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey, only four percent of recruiters don't use social media in the recruiting process. Furthermore, the survey found that social media networks are the second most effective source of quality hires for recruiters after referrals.
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As the survey itself states, "social media is a gold mine for recruiters."
On the other hand, a survey conducted by market research firm Cross-Tab on behalf of Microsoft shows that "fewer than 15 percent of participants surveyed believe that information found online would have an impact on their getting a job." The survey also found that 70 percent of the recruiters interviewed said they have "rejected candidates based on information they found online." This apparent gap between job seeker perception and recruiter reality may be harming many candidates' chances of success in their job searches.
In our digital age, resumes and cover letters are no longer enough for employers. They expect hiring managers and recruiters to conduct deeper searches on candidates via the Internet – and they are justified in doing so.
If you are looking for your dream job or simply ready to take the next step in your career, you can't ignore your online reputation. It plays a huge role in your personal branding, and you need to make sure your digital footprint is the kind that catches recruiters' eyes – in a positive way.
So, what do recruiters think about your personal brand?
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First Impressions Matter
It is increasingly difficult for job seekers to stand out from the crowd, so you may need to make a more concerted effort.
Be sure your personal brand is entirely positive, as it can be very difficult to change first impressions. Start by reviewing the content you have shared on your social media profiles as well as posts that other people have shared with you. If needed, change your privacy settings and take more control over what can be seen by outsiders. You may also want to search for your name on Google to see what comes up. If it returns any negative results, you'll need to do your best to correct the matter.
Taking the initiative to clean up your Web presence will put you one step ahead of recruiters, as they will very likely Google your name.
Send a Message
You need to be clear about the message you want to send with your personal brand. Do you want to be perceived as someone serious and reliable? Someone creative and fun? Someone extroverted and confident? Then think about how are you going to transmit that message through a color scheme, tone of voice, and visual style. The right combination of all these factors will lead you to the kind of personal brand that will help you land your dream job.
Keep It Consistent
Once you have decided on the main elements of your personal brand, stick to them. Consistency is important. Many candidates mix the personal and professional on their social profiles, resulting in misleading and confusing information. If you want to land a job, make sure you separate your personal information from your professional achievements. Create different social media profiles to share each type of content. If you have a personal website, you may want to restrict its access. When it comes to your professional image, you should make sure you keep it consistent along all online channels.
Overall, it is a reality that HR professionals are searching for candidates online. And in some cases, what they find can affect their hiring decisions. If you want to take the next step in your career, you need to be aware of this, as it is your own responsibility to take control of your personal online reputation.
Maria Onzain is a digital marketing expert who writes about career, education, ed. tech, and life hacks.