VIA_Email_JessicaHeader_Contractors

Everyone has an online presence of some sort – whether it’s social media or a professional profile. The question is, what does your online presence say about you?

Ten years ago, Forbes predicted that by 2021, online profiles would replace resumes in terms of how recruiters and human resources managers search. Study after study since then has proven we are moving that way. A 2017 GoDaddy survey found that as many of 75% of bosses now regularly check a candidate’s social media and online presence, and more than half have rejected candidates because of what they’ve found online.

Whether it’s Instagram or your own personal website, here are five factors to ensure your online profiles help you put your best foot forward.

1. Know what people can see and where. It’s always a good idea to check what information about you online is open for public consumption and what is private. This is true if you’re in the market for a new position and even after you’ve secured one, as companies often consider your posts a representation of who they are. Give everything a clean sweep and try to ensure any damaging photos from college or late-night posts are deleted or put under digital lock and key.

2. Have a place that showcases your work. For some tech jobs, not having an online portfolio can be as damaging as a poor impression on social media. A 2017 survey by CareerBuilder states 35% of employers are less likely to interview candidates they can’t find online. From developers to programmers, it’s essential to have a place that showcases what you do best.

3. Make sure your information is accurate. As far as biographical information or professional experience, the most important factors are honesty and accuracy. If you’ve only taken courses, make sure your profile doesn’t state you’ve earned a degree. If you have gaps in employment, don’t try to hide it by fudging employment dates. You want to represent your best self, but you want to make sure it’s your true self.

4. Stick with relevant work history. Just as with a resume, your online professional profile should only include relevant positions you’ve held. If you’re applying in the field of tech, a role at a fast-food restaurant would not qualify as relevant. It’s also important to show a progression of your skills, if possible.

5. Showcase your personality. Unlike your resume, your online profiles aren’t relegated to one page and they provide you with opportunities to showcase yourself through imagery, graphic elements, or even humor. Allowing some color to shine through can demonstrate a welcome personality and the best facets of your character – both attractive elements to potential employers. Just make sure you don’t go over the top.

The bottom line is one you already know: the Web is the quickest and easiest place to find out information about people. Being able to identify (and remedy) potential bad spots in your online presence could mean the difference to human resources and hiring managers now and down the road.