5 Things You Must Do Online

When was the last time you checked out the social feed or LinkedIn profile of someone you’ve never actually met?  I bet for many of you, it was within the past 24 hrs.  What did you think of what you saw?  Without even realizing it, that person’s feed or profile made an impact on you.  

When we think of first impressions, what usually comes to mind is what you think when you first see someone in person.  The reality, however, is that your virtual first impression is just as important as your live first impression.  And if you’re working towards your next career goal, then you better make a strong virtual first impression because hiring managers and recruiters are looking. 

Check out my advice on the 5 things you should do today to make the right virtual first impression.

1.   Google yourself

If you haven’t googled yourself lately, it’s time.  See what comes up.  If there’s anything that is unfavorable, see if you can have it taken down. 

2.     Scrub your social media accounts

Dig into your social media accounts, both casual social media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and professional social media like LinkedIn.  Look through old posts and pictures for any comments or images that may paint you in an unprofessional light. These might be things like vulgar language, polarizing political views, illegal activities, or overly revealing clothing.  These could be things you posted or posts you were tagged in.  If you find anything that could reflect poorly on you, remove it or untag yourself from it as privacy settings aren’t 100% reliable.  

3.     Play it safe on casual social media

Use your casual social media to showcase your passions.  Ideally these are things that sometimes overlap with your professional goals.  Be authentic to who you are but remember hiring decisions about you may take what you post into consideration.  

4.    Maximize your LinkedIn profile.  This means:

  • Make sure you have a professional profile picture.  Profiles with pictures are much more likely to be viewed.
  • Brand yourself with a background picture.  This sits behind your profile picture and helps tell your story.  Chose this picture carefully to convey a passion of yours that aligns with your professional goals.
  • Keep your profile information up-to-date.  Write in first person.  Make sure to keep your headline, location, and jobs current.  And don’t forget about other sections you can add that may add depth to your profile like volunteer work, awards, and languages.
  • Simplify your LinkedIn URL.  LinkedIn automatically gives you a long custom URL including your name and a bunch of numbers and letters.  In the contact info section, you can change this to get rid of all the extra numbers and letters.
  • Make endorsements work for you.  Your connections may endorse you for various skills.  Make sure you delete any that don’t make sense in terms of your career goals.
  • Ask for recommendations.  Be sure to have a few strong recommendations supporting your expertise in the area you are growing your career.
  • Work on actively building connections.  Don’t be shy. It’s okay to reach out to someone you’ve never met before.  That’s all part of networking!  It helps to add a personal note to your connection request.  Just be sure to be polite and professional.
  • Join groups.  The group feature on LinkedIn is an amazing way to connect with like-minded people.  Take advantage of it and use it as a way to build your connections. 

5.     Don’t over-post

Nobody wants to be inundated by your status updates so be selective about the information you share.  It’s all going into building your brand so be thoughtful and intentional about what you say. 

Even if you just spend the next few minutes online reviewing these 5 things, you could really change the game when the next recruiter or hiring manager looks you up online.  Until next time …follow me on Twitter at @MadeToHire, Instagram, and on Facebook.  

Merryn Roberts-Huntley