AN IMPRESSIVE resumé is supposed to open doors to interviews for your dream job, and many people spend a tremendous amount of time creating, reviewing and improving their resumé to impress their potential employer.
Yet, few realise that in the age of social media, this tried-and-tested process of securing job interviews is not as effective as before.
Prospective employers and hirers now use search and social media to filter job applicants before they grant interviews.
Employers conduct suitability checks by screening candidates thoroughly on key digital media. This screening is done even if candidates do not supply information about their digital or social media presence in their resumé or job application.
Employers often do not know their candidates personally and hence need to make judgment calls based on what limited information is available.
While the starting point is usually the resumé, employers are quite aware that candidates seldom reveal the full picture about themselves and have probably put forth an overly positive description.
Employers more proactive
So most employers will supplement their reviews by using both search and social media. This often results in discovering a treasure trove of information about job candidates that were often omitted in their resumé.
Employers will infer from the wealth of information uncovered about job candidates to evaluate the following key areas:
• Consistency of information against resumés submitted;
• Potential red flags, including questionable ethics and behaviour;
• Use of bad language; and
• Matching vision and work culture with the hiring company.
Since most job candidates devote little time and effort to review and analyse what can be found about them on digital media, they actually subject themselves to perception by association.
Most employers do not have the luxury of time to contextualise all the information they discover about their candidates in detail.
As a result, any candidate whose digital profile contains information that is perceived to be questionable will likely be considered less favourable against competing job candidates. First impressions usually end up being lasting impressions.
Some candidates, who are more digitally savvy, place a tremendous amount of faith in the privacy settings of the digital media they use. However, these are not entirely dependable.
Friends and acquaintances who are lax in their privacy attitudes will inevitably leak information that privacy settings can no longer contain. So employers find out more about you from people who know you, rather than just depending solely on what you say about yourself.
Groom your image online
Start investing more time and effort curating what the world sees of you on digital media and take steps to manage those perceptions actively. Here are some initial steps to take that will help you get started:
• “Google” yourself: Conduct an online search to find out more about your online presence. The important issue is to decide if you like what you discover about yourself, and if the perception accurately describes who you truly are.
• Create a decent social resumé: A social resumé is similar to a traditional resumé, but with some key differences. Social resumés often contain endorsements from fellow professionals about your strengths and skills. There is also a wealth of opportunities to conduct social networking with key employers even before you know there are job opportunities.
• Build a good digital reputation: It takes effort to build any reputation — offline or online. However, online reputations are readily available for public viewing and sharing. By contributing written articles and opinion pieces on platforms such as blogs, you are establishing a reputation as an expert, or at least, someone with a point of view.
The age of social media does not allow you to sit on your laurels and assume everything will be fine. It is now your responsibility to actively work on your professional reputation, both offline and online. While this definitely requires more work, it will also bring about more opportunities.
Article by Ryan Lim, the co-founder of Blugrapes. Currently heading a team that consults on social media, he is also an adviser to Fortune 500 companies.