(This article is reprinted from WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? 2018 copyright © 2017 by Richard N. Bolles. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.)
If you’re job hunting, you may be thinking the first thing you need to do is put together your resumé. That used to be true before the Internet. But these days, the new resumé is called Google.
What an employer finds out about you simply by Googling your name helps determine whether you get hired. And you’ve got to clean up what the employer finds before the company or nonprofit finds it.
There are four things you can do about this to boost your chances of getting hired: you can edit, fill in, expand and add to your Google resumé. I’ll provide details shortly.
Almost all (91 percent) of U.S. employers have visited a job-hunter’s profile on social networks and more than 69 percent of employers have rejected some applicants on the basis of what they found. Things that can get you rejected: bad grammar or gross misspelling on your Facebook or LinkedIn profile; anything indicating you lied on your resumé; any badmouthing of previous employers; any signs of racism, prejudice or screwy opinions about stuff; anything indicating alcohol or drug abuse and any — to put it delicately — inappropriate content.
What is sometimes forgotten is that this works both ways.
Sometimes (68 percent of the time), an employer will offer someone a job because it liked what Google turned up about the person. Things like the creativity or professionalism you demonstrate online; your expressing yourself extremely well online; the employer’s overall impression of your personality online; the wide range of interests you exhibit online and evidence online that you get along well and communicate well with other people.
4 Ways to Improve Your Google Resume
So, now, here are my four tips for improving your Google resumé to help get hired:
1. Edit Your Google Resume
Make a list of adjectives you’d like employers to think of when they consider hiring you. Then Google yourself and see what the search engine pulls up. Also, go over any pages you’ve put up on social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube and remove anything you posted there — or allowed others to post — that contradicts the impression you would like to make.
If you don’t know how to remove an item from a particular site, type or speak the following into a search engine like Google: “How to remove an item from [Facebook]” or whatever.
2. Fill In Your Google Resume
On sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, fill out your profile completely. Leave no part blank unless you have a very good reason. Most importantly, be sure to keep the profile up-to-date. There is nothing that makes you look less professional than having an obviously outdated profile.
Make your LinkedIn profile page really stand out when employers go browsing. Here are some hints on how to do it:
A photo is mandatory. Surveys have shown that not having your photo listed in your LinkedIn profile is a turnoff for most employers. The likelihood that your LinkedIn profile will get viewed increases 11 times if you include a photo. Make it a shot just of your head and shoulders, make it sharply focused and well lit, dress up for it and smile.
In the section called Job Title, if you aren’t searching for a career change and like what you’ve been doing but the title you have doesn’t contain the words a hiring manager would use to search for someone who does what you do, put in a slash mark and then add the title he or she would use. If you’re looking for a change, after listing your current job title, enter a slash and add the industry you want to find a job in so an employer’s search engine will pick you up.
In describing your past jobs or experience, don’t just make a list of tasks or achievements. LinkedIn gives you enough space to tell a story, so tell a story. Summarize some major achievement in that job and then tell a story of how you did it and what the measurable results were. List your skills: you increase the likelihood that your LinkedIn profile will be looked at by 13 times if you do.
In the Summary section, be sure to state whatever you think gives you a competitive advantage in your field.
Under Specialities, list every keyword you can think of that would lead a search engine to find you for the job you want.
Add links to any website you feel would help you stand out — for instance, your blog, if you have one and it’s solely devoted to your area of expertise and your Twitter account, if you’ve only been posting tweets that manifest your expertise in your field.
Join one or more LinkedIn groups related to your expertise. Post sparingly but regularly when the people in it are discussing something you’re an expert on. You want to get a name and reputation in your field.
3. Expand Your Google Resume
There are several ways to expand your presence on the Internet:
Forums: Professional sites like LinkedIn have forums, or groups, organized by subject matter. Look through the directory of those groups or forums, choose one or two related to your industry or interests and, after signing up, speak up regularly when you have something to say that will quietly demonstrate you are an expert in your chosen subject area.
Blogs: Start a blog if you don’t already have one, and update it regularly. If you don’t know how to blog, there are helpful sites like Blogger.com that give you detailed instructions. If you have a blog but it roams in terms of subject matter, start a new one that is more narrowly preoccupied with your particular area of expertise.
Twitter: The advantage of Twitter is that it has hashtags and Google is indexing all those tags and tweets. Figure out which hashtags employers are likely to look for when they want to find someone with your expertise and experience.
4. Add to Your Google Resume
It will take any employer or HR department some time to sift through all the stuff about you that may appear when it does a Google search. You would help them by summarizing and organizing the pertinent information about yourself. You can do this by composing an old-type resumé and post it on the Internet (where Google will find it).
What Color Is Your Parachute: 2018 has detailed advice on the best way to craft a resumé. If you need additional guidance, search Google for the topic “keywords on an electronic resumé” or “examples of resumés” or “how to write a resumé.” This will turn up free resources and advice as well as professional resumé writers.
A final tip: Where you post your resumé makes all the difference in the world. If employers post their vacancy on a job board like Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com, they typically have to look through 219 resumés from job hunters who respond before they find someone to interview and hire. If they post the vacancy on the employer’s website, they typically have to look through just 33.
However, if the job hunter takes the initiative to find a specific job rather than waiting to find a vacancy by, say, typing the name of that job into a search engine and then sending resumés to any companies whose name turns up, employers only have to look through 32 applications before finding someone to hire. If the job hunter takes even more initiative, chooses a company where he or she would like to work and gets a referral from an employee within that company, employers have to look through only 10 such candidates before finding someone to interview and hire.
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