Putting a Face to a Name: Creating a Positive Web Presence and Personality

Stephanie Warthe | March-19-12
How to Create Your Personal Online Brand

We’ve heard it all before: social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, are becoming popular hotspots for recruiters looking to weed out unfit job candidates. A bad photo or inappropriate status update can quickly send a resume from the top of the pile to the recycle bin. However, one cannot deny the benefits of social media as a personal networking and communication tool. It seems that Web 2.0 and social media are the future, and those who choose not to accept it may be left in the dust.

According to a survey conducted by reppler.com, approximately 91% of employers admitted to using social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to screen job applicants during the recruitment process. While a great deal of these recruiters confessed to using networking sites to get rid of the so-called Lemons, nearly as many claimed that the sites could be beneficial in spotting star candidates. Online profiles can give great insight into one’s personality and interests, helping recruiters determine if the candidate would be a good fit for the organization.

In fact, a study conducted in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that Facebook profiles could accurately predict future job performance. A well-designed profile can help highlight some of your positive personality traits, such as social skills, curiosity, and a good sense of humour, and give insight into your hobbies and personal values.

ECO Canada has compiled these five tips to help you build a positive online presence:

1) Think before you post:

Whenever you post anything on the internet you should first ask yourself “is this something I would like my future employer to see?”  If you wouldn’t speak or act a certain way in front of your boss, chances are it has no place on the internet. However, don’t hold back on posting about your hobbies and interests. These posts may help create more of a connection with employers, give insight into your passions, and show that you are comfortable with social interaction.

2) Contribute:

Rather than just “re-tweeting,”  “liking,” or “sharing,” consider posting comments.  This type of proactive interaction helps to showcase the involvement you hold in your interests and demonstrates your confidence to speak up and have your opinions heard. Your contribution reveals to employers that you are able to think critically about new ideas and situations (just remember to stay respectful; this is no place for ill-toned comments and sarcasm).  Mashable.com points out that online interaction can help you build relationships with your favorite brands and organizations through engagement  –  and at the very least, shows genuine interest in what they have to offer).

3) Stay up-to-date with the industry:

Educate yourself! Social networks are some of the most valuable resources in terms of obtaining up-to-date news and information. Follow your favorite organizations, brands, or industry news sources to ensure the knowledge you have of the industry is relevant and accurate.

4) Google Yourself:

Privacy settings on social networking sites can change without you knowing. Make sure to Google yourself every few weeks to ensure you are maintaining a positive and professional online presence. Staying informed about what employers are seeing online can help guarantee there are no surprises in your job search.

5) Showcase your achievements:

Have a new blog post or personal achievement? Tweet it! It is a great way to showcase your enthusiasm and underscore your qualifications.  Just remember to keep it in moderation; too much self-promotion can be overwhelming.

While social networks are still not the number one resource when it comes to recruitment, a good or bad profile can make or break an employment opportunity.  It’s a known fact that employers will be looking, so if you are already using social media you might as well make sure that you are using it to your advantage.

Clean up the dirt and emphasize the positive to ensure that when employers find you online, they like what they see.