Hold On, You Googled Me?

Guest Blogger Hope Kase ’18

This week I want to discuss the importance of an online presence. We have been learning a lot about this topic in my CUPID Studio class recently, and it got me thinking about what I’m putting out there for the world, and future employers, to see. One thing I’ve learned is that more and more employers are starting to Google the people they are considering for a job before they bring them in for an interview.

In an online article for Forbes called “Why Every Job Seeker Should Have a Personal Website, and What It Should Include,” Jacquelyn Smith reports that 56% of all hiring managers are most impressed if a job-seeker has a personal website compared to any other online presence, but only 7% of job-seekers have one. Further, she states the fact that 80% of job openings are never posted, which means that making connections is incredibly important for even finding opportunities to showcase yourself.

Personal websites give individuals a unique opportunity to show employers more than just what shows up on a resume. When their name is entered into the search bar, if the first result that pops up is a personal website that is professional and impressive, that candidate will have a much better chance at getting the job than someone else who may be equally qualified but doesn’t have a website.

As a college student constantly on the lookout for job opportunities, I recently started paying attention to my online presence as I pursued summer jobs. When I Google my name, although I don’t have embarrassing party pictures or an old Myspace account from middle school popping up, my online presence is still far from what I would like it to be. If an employer were to look me up, all they would find is a lot of sports-related news and media from high school and Elon, an old Prezi from 10th grade, a snippet that mentions I am doing undergraduate research at Elon, and a blank LinkedIn profile. What that says about me is that I haven’t considered my audience when crafting my online presence and that I gave up when starting to create something professional for employers to see!

Although I plan to have my own website at some point soon to showcase my skills and interests in a professional format, this may not be for everyone. For those who may not feel the need or have the time to create and run their own personal website, let’s look at something they can do to improve their online presence. As an example, I will look more closely at LinkedIn, which is just one great way for candidates to show employers more about themselves through an online medium, as well as make connections. Below is my current LinkedIn profile and an example of a profile that has been much more thoroughly developed and used as helpful tool to her advantage.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.35.30 AMAs you can see, my profile is almost completely empty. With four connections and just my name and country listed, this would not impress any employer. I have not put any effort in to present myself as a valuable candidate or even offer any basic information about myself, and the only hope I have is that the employer may not even know if it is me or not.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.35.36 AMNow let’s look at the second example profile. Just from this quick glance, we can already tell that Abby Stern has done her part to craft a comprehensive online presence. We learn about her educational and work background, interests for the future, and what skills and knowledge she brings to a position, which allows for an employer to learn more about who she is and what she brings to the table. Further, her picture is a clear professional headshot, and she appears to have already made 500+ connections. This shows that she is active and serious about her career, and her intended audience may be quite impressed. When looking at these two profiles, it’s no question who would get the job should an employer be comparing them.

When searching for a job, there are a lot of avenues to consider that can help. One of the most important ones in this era of the internet is online presence. It is getting more difficult to stick to the old-fashioned paper resume and cover letter as the only resources utilized, and the internet can be one of the greatest tools at our disposal, if used right. So whether it’s a personal website, curated Pinterest, blog, or LinkedIn profile, it’s time to look at what comes up when your name is in the search bar, and how it portrays you. Are you feeling lucky?

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