Key to the Successful Modern Job Search: Social Proof

aaaaAre you as passionate as your resume says about your profession or craft? Are you as positive as you hope and as likeable you’d like?

Without knowing you, your digital footprint – your public profiles and online activities as reviewed potential employers – often best demonstrates who you really are.

Recruiters refer to this online process as “social proof” – a very important aspect of a successful modern job search.

You Are Being Watched

This not a new phenomenon, of course. According to an excellent study funded by Microsoft back in 2009, eighty percent (80%) of employers and recruiters conducted an Internet search on the names of applicants.

Today, very close to 100% of employers probably do that Internet search on applicant names – a quick and easy “background check” on each applicant under consideration, to help eliminate the obvious ‘bad fits’.

Your Internet activities reveal a great deal about you, and demonstrate the level of your likeability, capabilities, experience, and knowledge. You must manage your public actions so that what is found shows you in a positive light.

Consider Separating Your Public and Private Profiles

If you absolutely must rant on a topic or post questionable photos or comments, use an alias to separate your public “professional” identity from your private, informal, “fun” or “angry” identities.

Don’t let those crazy photos you posted in college or your political rants on your local newspaper’s website scare a potential employer away.

Your Online “Tracks” Should Support Your Resume’s “Facts”

Employers are accustomed to a degree of “exaggeration” in many resumes and job applications. Not surprisingly, they don’t like it.

Did you really attend that school, earn that degree, work for that employer, and hold that job title? Are you really the skilled communicator you claim to be? Do you demonstrate the expertise your resume says you have?

Today, thanks to social media and search engines, it is much easier for employers to uncover exaggerations. (Done right, it is also easier to shine in comparison with other job seekers.)

LinkedIn Profile = Social Proof

A LinkedIn Profile provides “proof” accepted by most employers. While resumes may contain those hated exaggerations, your LinkedIn Profile, visible to your friends and professional colleagues, is expected to be an honest representation of your career facts.

Compare your resume with your LinkedIn profile. Are they synced? Do they contain the same dates, job titles, employers, summary of skills, etc. Make sure they do… because an employer will notice. And the only “proof” you’ll be offering then, is that you are willing to be dishonest about your skills, work history and capabilities.

Social proof is not optional, but thanks to LinkedIn and Google it isn’t hard to develop. Just remember that potential employers will see everything you post publicly with your professional name, and act accordingly.

If you say it, don’t just mean it… prove it!


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Susan P Joyce AuthorAbout the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since. Susan also edits and publishes Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .




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