We all know we are *supposed* to do that - especially those in job search - because we know every hiring manager, recruiter/headhunter, and even HR professional is doing exactly that. What should you be looking for?
In a recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Allison Vaillancourt boiled it down to five key areas that you should pay close attention to:
1) Are you there? A serious question. If nothing comes up when someone searches for you, Ms. Vaillancourt speculates, accurately, “are you too boring and unaccomplished to have any presence on the web?” The remedy? I recommend participation in appropriate forums on LinkedIn; lurk first, get a feel for the right sites where you can add thought leadership and demonstrate your subject matter expertise.
2) On the contrary, is there too much out there - of the wrong variety? Ms. Vaillancourt states that if your social media settings are too open, you may give the appearance of being “reckless or clueless.” The fix? Most of my senior-level execs aren’t even dabbling on Facebook (though a few savvy folks have made connections back to old college friends [could have found them through LinkedIn or even their alumni networks just as easily] and leveraged a job contact); but if you are, play with discretion.
3) What is your online presence saying about your brand? Overdone? Too much “infomercial?” That’s a potential problem, says Ms. Vaillancourt. Understate not overstate, always my motto.
4) Back in high school, did you have to get everyone’s signature in your yearbook, even the ‘kids’ you didn’t hang with? Some folks do the same thing on LinkedIn and Twitter, building to hundreds and thousands of connections that can appear somewhat disingenuous. I concur with Ms. Vaillancourt’s recommendation: “Show a more cohesive community of connections linked by discipline, industry, organization, or geography.”
5) Too visible? Overexposed? As Ms. Vaillancourt asks, are you “sending ranting letters to the editor and random, vitriolic blog entries, on social media all hours of day and night?” Better to scale back and ensure that your digital footprint presents the right impression - something I know all my clients are doing!
– Jan Melnik, MA, MRW, CCM, CPRW … President, Absolute Advantage