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Is Your Online Presence Hurting Your Job Search?

With this first post of the new year, I’d like to talk a bit about making sure your online presence isn’t hurting your chances of landing a job interview.

One of the first things many hiring managers do now (myself included!) is check some of the major social sites to see what information is posted on applicants they are considering for an interview.  With so many different social sites now available, I can’t cover them all so I’ll concentrate on the two that every hiring manager is sure to look at: Linkedin and Facebook.  Here are some traps you can fall into with the information you post.

With Linkedin, you want to make certain that your skills and experience are relevant to the types of jobs for which you’re currently applying (or plan to apply for in the future).  Additionally, you should pay particular attention to aligning what your resume says with what your Linkedin profile says.  Many times, I’ve reviewed a resume for an applicant I’m considering for an interview and then see that their Linkedin profile shows large differences in the skills or experience listed.  This type of discrepancy raises a yellow flag and puts your credibility in doubt, so make sure your resume and Linkedin profile are in sync.

Next, for both Linkedin and Facebook, do not post a picture of yourself.  In my opinion, as a hiring manager, posting you picture won’t help you and very likely can hurt you.  You want the hiring manager to focus strictly on your qualifications and experience and how you present them – not on what you look like.  Hiring managers are (for the most part!) human and just like most people they can make snap judgments based strictly on looks.  You may look too young in their eyes, too old, too attractive, too unattractive, or simply resemble someone that they dislike.  Why risk it?  Don’t post pictures of yourself.

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Lastly, do not post personal information about yourself, particularly on Facebook. I’m talking specifically here about your hobbies, if any.  They are not in any way relevant to your qualifications for most jobs and you just never know what turns people off.  Case in point.  Some time ago, another hiring manager in my organization shared with me that she didn’t interview an otherwise very qualified applicant because of what she saw on his Facebook account.  Apparently he was a hunter and proudly displayed pictures of himself with a deer he had shot.  This particular hiring manager was dead set against hunting for sport and as soon as she saw this picture that ended any chance that applicant had of getting an interview.  So again, why risk it?  Omit any mention of hobbies on both Linkedin and Facebook.

Of course, there are many other social sites that are now commonly used, but these same two rules apply: if you’re job searching, don’t post pictures of yourself and don’t write about your hobbies.  There is very little upside and great potential for downside!

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