How to look more professional online
Taking care of your online reputation matters more to your job hunt than you probably think. We've got tips on how to stand out from the crowd by looking super professional online!
Whilst your CV and covering letter should always be your main priority when applying for a new a job, it's definitely time we accept that our entire online presence now plays a major part in the recruitment process, too.
Many job hunters will do what they can to make themselves invisible online to potential employers to prevent them coming across anything they'd rather they didn't see, it's worth knowing that if recruiters can't learn anything about you on the net, this can work against you just as much as those pics of you with your head down a toilet after a night out!
In fact, many even admit they'll often bin applications from candidates they can’t find online!
Therefore, the solution is to take control of your public online image by creating profession online content that recruiters and employers can access, and be super impressed by.
8 ways to look super professional online
Own your linkedIn
Credit: sue seecof – Flickr
As you can probably guess, your first port of call when it comes to professionalising your online image should be LinkedIn!
Recruiters literally spend all day on this platform scouting out candidates, so it's crucial you do what you can to perfect your page and stand out from the crowd.
We've got a great guide on how to upgrade your LinkedIn profile page to impress potential employers, and even make it easy for them to head hunt you!
Create a professional online profile
Creating your own professional profile is a really impressive way to take ownership of how you appear in google searches. Basically, this is just a very simple website where a recruiter can find out a bit more about you.
We've got a great guide to setting up your own site in less than 20 minutes, which you can then use to create a kind of interactive profile with buttons for your CV, an 'about me' page and an online portfolio (if applicable).
Google your name or email address and see what comes up – are you happy with the results? Begin creating professional content that will increase the chances of someone seeing that instead of things you'd rather they didn't see.
The ideal scenario would be if you were able to purchase your name as a domain (e.g. www.jessicasmith.co.uk) as this would really increase the chances of your personal url appearing when a recruiter searches for you!
Get a personalised email address
And no, we're not talking about a gmail/yahoo/hotmail account – every man and his dog has one of those!
What we mean by a personalised email is one that's hosted on your own personal domain name.
Once you've bought the domain you’ve used to create your online professional profile (see above), you’ll be able to create your own email address to go with it (e.g. [email protected]).
Having your own personalised email looks pretty slick, and also prevents anyone from stealing it from you in the future! If your name's already taken, try adding in your middle initial to differentiate yourself.
Start a blog
The great thing about having a blog is that it’s not directly job related, but can offer employers an insight into the more personal, non-professional ‘you’ (or the side that you’d like them to see, anyway!).
It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for a job in construction or journalism, good communication skills are always really important, and a blog is a great way to demonstrate yours.
Therefore, make sure you really take the time to make the content on your blog top notch and error-free. Be careful again not to use your blog as a platform to rant, otherwise you might come across as a potentially difficult employee.
Keep your Facebook profile respectable
Facebook is likely to be one of the first results a recruiter will see when googling your name, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to alter your privacy settings to make sure they can only see what you’d like them to see.
There are loads of ways you can employer-proof your Facebook, and if you're really keen to keep social-you and professional-you separate, you could make a fake profile for friends using an alias (but make sure there's no way employers can see that you have two accounts, or this can look pretty suspicious).
Make sure you keep your profile picture semi-respectable too, and remember that you can set your privacy settings so you need to be asked permission to be tagged in photos, and even verify tags before anything is added to your timeline.
This is another reason why you should never add people you don’t know to Facebook – it could well be that they’re just a recruiter going undercover on a mission to dig dirt on potential candidates!
Strike a balance
The hardest thing about this whole process of managing your online presence is trying to strike a balance between showing your personality and looking professional.
Whilst it's super important to come across as a great employee, it's also important to show you're human too.
Employers care just as much about whether you'll be a good team fit as they do about your experience and qualifications – so try to show a bit of your personality in your efforts.
Twitter is a particularly good platform for this – but while we're on the subject…
Be careful with twitter
Credit: Uncalno Tekno – Flickr
Going on mad rants about celebrities you think look crap these days doesn’t exactly look good to potential employers, and neither does having arguments with people on the platform (unless you’re JK Rowling shooting down Trump supporters, of course).
Just remember that if an employer has your twitter handle, they can see entire threads of twitter action at a glance, and even see how you handle situations like social media complaints to brands.
Come across stroppy, and you could be majorly shooting yourself in the foot.
Protect your passwords
Getting hacked and your online channels sabotaged is about as unprofessional as it gets!
Imagine this: your email account gets hacked and a spam mail is sent out to every person on your contacts list, including the companies you’ve just spent ages sending tailored CVs and covering letters to. Doesn’t look great, huh?
Not to worry though – our guide on how to avoid getting hacked will have your online accounts superbly secured in no time.