Google Is Your New Resume

by Noor Aftab

Google

100 billion! No, that’s not your lottery winnings. It’s the number of monthly searches on Google. That’s about 3.3 billion searches a day. You are one of them – searching for companies, reading reviews about them and scanning through the hundreds of jobs they offer. Doesn’t the Internet have some sweet spots?

Stop for a minute and think about the other side of the picture.

You are also part of the group that is being searched. The HR manager, your prospective line manager or anyone else on the interview committee may be looking at you. They are scanning your digital footprint in places you want them to go to like LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. That’s why you added that information on your resume.

However, beyond your carefully crafted resume Google gives these managers even more insights. They can go to places you wouldn’t want them to visit. Remember how your friend Alice put up your shirtless picture on Instagram? That got you a lot of likes and comments. But to an employer, that is another side of you. How about the abusive language you used on Twitter? It was just you venting out at the fellas after the game. Yikes, it’s visible to them! Your crazy video on Youtube about dumb blondes was meant to be fun? Guess what? Your HR manager is blond.

Did you know that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers from the US rejected a candidate based on what they found online? Fast Magazine talks about a similar survey by CareerBuilder, where candidates were rejected because of the following reasons:

YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE:
WHY WOULD AN EMPLOYER REFUSE TO HIRE YOU

(Survey conducted by CareerBuilder. Sample of 2,667 Employers)

Inappropriate Photos/ Info 53% 
Drinking/ Drug Use 44% 
Bad-Mouthing Previous Employee or Client 35% 
Poor Communication Skills 29% 
Discriminatory Comments 26% 
Lied about Qualifications 24% 
Leaked Confidential Information about Previous Job  20% 


Gone are the days when an employer would rely solely on your “neat” resume. Now they run you by Google and turn you down for some of the reasons mentioned above. You would understand bad mouthing a colleague or sharing confidential information. But aren’t the rest of the factors an invasion into your personal space?

Employers are looking for the best talents, but they also want to avoid hiring the wrong candidates. Indeed, hiring the wrong person can be very costly.

It reminds me of my time as the market head before the days of social media. I was recruiting for a manager position in my office. We had run some fifty interviews for that particular position and were struggling to find the right candidate. Finally we were able to find a candidate who had just the right education, skills and attitude to do the job. Two months into the probation, he was bringing in good sales too. It was only when HR ran a background check that we discovered that he lied about his work experience. What unfolded was a shocker: he did not know the fine line between marketing and lying. After he was fired, some of our clients came back to us asking for services he promised that did not exist! If only this candidate had a social profile, it could have saved the company money and trouble.

Mashable offers three other real life examples of people who lost their jobs because of social media:

  1. Tweet: Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against daily commute to San Jose and hating the work. This tweet cost the 22-year old her job before it even started.

  2. Some employees in Dominos Kitchen uploaded a video titled “Disgusting Dominos People” where they did gross things to food before serving to customers. They were tracked down by a company Consumerist and fired.

  3. A teacher in Barrow County, Georgia, was asked to resign from her job at a high school because of photographs and status updates she posted to Facebook. She was vacationing in Europe and her page was private, but she friended some teachers at her school who passed the information to the principal. That got her fired.

After reading all that could go wrong, you are probably thinking that social media is out there to ruin your chances of getting a decent job or keeping it. But the reverse is also true. Those candidates that manage their social media presence well can not only keep their jobs but even find better ones.

Forbes magazine staffer, Susan Adams wrote about Jobsvite, a company that sells software enabling other businesses to identify and source candidates. The design chief of Jobsvite, a frequent tweet person, writes a blog, holds talks and publishes content on Twitter. One of his followers, a Canadian designer was reading and commenting on his tweets for some time. One day he sent a message to Jobsvite’s design chief saying: “I like what you have been saying on Twitter and I agree with your approach. If you’re ever looking for someone to hire, give me a shout. I’d love to work for you.” The design chief was in fact looking for a designer. And yes, that tweet got the Canadian designer the job.

So how can social media help your job search? Here are some strategies to find a job and keep it:

  1. Do Your Reputation Audit: When was the last time you googled your name? If you haven’t done it in a while, do it now. Your job may depend on it. Google may return millions of results for your name search. While most recruiters will not search beyond 2 pages, you should exercise more diligence and go a bit further. So what did the search reveal? Did you find three other professionals with the same name? Try standing out. For example, you are Joan Smith, a professional accountant from Arizona with a CPA qualification. Consider adding CPA to your name. What else did you find? Did funny Facebook pictures of you pop up like bikini photos or excessive drinking? Remove them. Else, consider changing your privacy settings from public to private. Finally, put a Google Alert to your name. This will notify you if any news, blog or website mentions your name.

  2. Don’t Have an Obituary on LinkedIn: Obituaries are for dead people. Dead people will not have new connections, jobs, skills or status updates. Don’t let your LinkedIn profile become an obituary. Complete all the relevant sections and add keywords to make it easier for recruiters to find you. Remember, if a recruiter sees an incomplete profile, he may drop you for someone less qualified but more LinkedIn savvy.

  3. Brand Yourself: Back in the old days you relied almost solely on your resume to showcase your qualifications. Today you have blogs, webpages and a whole host of sites to show-off or rather showcase yourself. By writing on blogs, doing a podcast or video, you become a content creator. This content has the potential of building your authority in your industry. On social media sites like LinkedIn join your industry related groups and contribute.

  4. Be Careful What Image You Project: Use your judgment before posting comments, tweeting or sharing your thoughts. Once online, it may be too late.

Google is your new resume. Make sure you make your presence known, the right way.

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