Already sent out hundreds of resumes with no response? If you’re convinced that you’ve done everything you can, and there’s nothing more to do but wait for the next interview, you’d better read this article, because you’re missing something important.
A fifteen-year high-tech career, ten to twelve hours a day, sometimes more. You built your career up from scratch, quickly being promoted to a management job, and then another, and then one more. A few years later you were given an offer you couldn’t refuse – vice-president of a promising new start-up, maybe, or another management position in a large company with incredible job perks. And you’ve even had a few articles written about you on the right websites, and you’ve been interviewed here and there. Everyone knows you have something to offer, it’s just that right now you don’t really have anyone to offer it to…
Start-ups open up and shut down, large companies fire senior workers and replace them with new ones every time they sniff a recession. Even though you survived several rounds of cuts, the time came and you’ve found yourself out of work too. You’ve got plenty of skills and experience, fifteen years is enough to be a professional – so how is it that you’ve been sending hundreds of resumes out for the past six months, and nothing’s happened yet?
The other version of your resume
It might be that you haven’t taken into consideration your other resume, the one written by the virtual community and edited by Google: a collection of online fingerprints that show up on search engines under your name. Regardless of whether you’re looking for a job, business connections, new acquaintances or potential investors, anyone who ever wants to know anything about you will type your name into Google (just like you’ve done a few times yourself too). This phenomenon is known as ‘online reputation research’, and an increasing number of organizations make use of it. According to a Microsoft survey from 2010, your online reputation plays an important role in your personal and professional life, and is a significant factor in recruitment decisions. In fact, good internet presence is more likely to get you a job than a good economic climate.
In the last few years, recruitment and HR managers have been looking at your online background as part of the recruitment process. This is becoming more and more commonplace, and in some companies is even written in their standard operating procedures. You might think that what you do online on social networks in your own spare time is nobody else’s business, but that’s not exactly true. Studies have shown that a manager’s personal reputation is connected and affects the reputation of the whole company.
Even without the company’s reputation being connected to yours, many employers would reject you after they search online and find some pictures from last year’s New Year’s Eve party, the kind you wouldn’t proudly show your boss anywhere. So why does a potential employer have access to them? It’s also just as bad to be a senior-level executive manager, who’s done a thing or two in his life, and not have anything online to show for it. His global resume is lacking any kind of professional content.
Here are the top four reasons that recruiters turn away candidates for, based on their online reputation (Microsoft, 2010):
|Concerns about the candidate’s lifestyle||58%||45%||42%||32%|
|Inappropriate comments and text written by the candidate||56%||57%||78%||58%|
|Unsuitable photos , videos, and information||55%||51%||44%||42%|
|Inappropriate comments or text written by friends and relatives||43%||35%||14%||11%|
It’s interesting to see that apart from the second reason, all the other types of online reputation (especially the fourth) don’t directly depend on the candidate, and aren’t always in their control.
Where do recruiters and HR professionals go to look for information on their candidates? Most people think that social networks are the main source of information, but actually search engines are the preferred tool for online reputation research (Microsoft, 2010):
|Percent of recruiters and HR professionals who use these types of sites when researching applicants|
|Social networking sites||63%|
|Photo and video sharing sites||59%|
|Professional and business networking sites||57%|
|Personal Web sites||48%|
|News sharing sites (e.g. Twitter)||41%|
Several researchers have studied how online reputation affects careers and personal lives, especially regarding job recruitment and employment. Here are some interesting facts that came up in the Microsoft study, among others:
- 87% of consumers connect a CEO’s reputation to that of his or her company (Hill & Knowlton).
- 86% of recruiters and HR professionals say that good online reputation increases the candidate’s chance of being employed
- 50% of them say that it considerably raises their chances.
- 75% of US companies have implemented procedures requiring online research as part of the recruitment process.
- 70% of recruiters and HR professionals have rejected a candidate because of information found online.
- 7% of job applicants in the US think that online content can harm their chances of being employed.
How can I help Google show my resume the way I want?
Type your name into Google and look at the results that come up on the first page. Are there any negative results there, such as bad coverage or lawsuits from the past? Are the results actually about you, and are they updated and relevant? What about your profile picture on social networking sites? Is that the way you want to be seen by potential employers, colleagues, or investors? Probably not.
The process of creating an online reputation that will accurately reflect your true resume, and focus on what you want to do, is highly dependent on your current online presence:
- The number of positive and negative references to you that appear in search engine results, their position on the results page, and the sites that they are hosted on.
- Your profile on the various social networks. Is it updated? Is it relevant to what you’re looking for?
Depending on the current situation, you should set up an action plan consisting of the following steps:
- Update your social network profiles.
- Update your privacy settings on social networks.
- Add new and relevant content (articles, new profiles, personal website).
- Promote wanted results to the top of the search page.
- As a result of the above steps, unwanted content will be pushed down and away.
Read the entire guide for creating a perfect reputation to learn more on how to apply the whole plan, step by step. It’s not inconceivable that in the near future our online resume will replace the traditional one. Good online reputation can improve your professional and personal situation: job hunts, collaborations, investor relations, and even in social interactions and dating. It’s important to understand that this process takes time, and it’s worth starting right away, so that next time you meet someone at a conference, you can simply give them a business card with just your name and profession, and casually say “Google me!”