Your value proposition is clear. Your resume is immaculate; the LinkedIn Profile perfect. Your cover letter could have been written by Shakespeare (well, except for the use of “thou” and “leadeth”).
Based on these points alone, every recruiter in the universe would want to interview you.
So why aren’t you getting any calls?
The problem for most: the “Second First Impression”.
We all know it’s important to make a good first impression. Few, however – despite all the advice to the contrary – have grasped the importance of passing another test: the “Second First Impression”.
As we’ve all heard: Facebook, Twitter – even Instagram and Foursquare and the very blog you created to showcase your talent – are being thoroughly reviewed. What we may not know is: these filters are engaged long before the recruiter contacts you. You will never know you were ever seriously considered; you’ll never receive any feedback.
Sadly only 50% of entry-level talent will make the cut. Not due to those red solo cup pictures. And not because you are human and like to have fun once in a while (who doesn’t? And… you don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t expect you to have fun, right?).
Those that go from “Wow, this candidate looks really good” to “Um, no… Next!” fail due to one problem: TMI.
Most recruiters define TMI as any tweet or post that includes:
- Any reference to excessive partying or illegal drug use (or the after-effects)
- A post that portrays you as an immature high school student (including remarks of a sexual nature)
- Racially-motivated comments (even when directed at your own race)
- Content that denigrates either gender (and “jk” and “lol” does not make this okay)
- Excessive swearing (only the hottest celebrities and most successful bloggers can pull that off)
- Any negative comment about your previous employers
- Entries that display a lack of passion at work (including the all-too-common and innocent-enough sounding “God, I can’t wait for Friday!”)
- Public venting just to make yourself feel better
- Excessive whining, troll statements or diva-like comments
- Victim statements of any kind
Depending on the recruiter, you may get away with one or two of these TMI mistakes. In the long run, however, recruiters are ultimately looking for someone who not only meets minimum qualifications but is also a fit for the company culture.
And a party-animal whiner who never chose to grow up and then blames everyone else for their ignorant, insensitive outlook on life is typically NOT a good fit.
(Okay, that’s a harsh example – although I would submit that those entering the workforce leave recruiters with this impression far too often.)
Self-assess your current online brand. Work just as hard on that as you did your resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter. Then take a look at the culture of the companies where you’ll be submitting an application, and ask yourself:
Would my current online presence create a positive “second first impression”?
About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Switch and Shift, and Under30CEO.
Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors,” HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and CareerBliss’ “Top 10 Gen Y Career Experts.” Mark is currently working on two new books: “A World Gone Social: How Business Must Adapt to Survive (AMACOM, June 2014) with Ted Coine and “The Ultimate Guide to Internships (And Making Your College Years Matter Again)” (Allworth, September 2014). Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!