3 Things You Must Do Before Starting Your Job Search

If you are sending out job applications in droves, without a single call back, you need to read this.

It may seem that hiring managers and recruiters simply allow your resume to fall into the deep dark hole of nothingness; however, that may not be the case. There is a chance that you were shortlisted for the position, and then the unthinkable happened. The hiring manager Googled you.

Avoid being “dumped before the first date” because of your online persona. Complete this 3 must-dos before you start blasting your resume out.

1. Lock down your Facebook profile.

Holy Toledo, I cannot stress how important it is to keep your personal life private. If your credentials look like a fit at first glance, the hiring manager will put your name on that Facebook search bar faster than you can say “jäger bomb.” That is not a good thing for you if your profile has anything remotely related to being a college frat brat. Yes, hiring managers are legally allowed to creep your Facebook profile. Yes, they are legally allowed to make hiring judgments based on what they see.

Working as a headhunter, I recall reading the resume of a guy who looked like a fantastic sales candidate for my client. Of course, my next step was to search him on Facebook. Turns out my “rockstar candidate” was a complete misogynist who didn’t have any positive things to say about anyone. His offensive memes were proudly posted publicly. If I could see this, it meant that my client could see this, and their customers could see this. There was NO WAY my client would pay me a generous fee for presenting this imbecile to them.

So - what can you do? Facebook has an excellent feature where you can view your profile from the perspective of the general public. You should regularly check your online profile the same way a hiring manager would! Take some time to comb through all photos, past posts, groups, interests, etc. Put everything to “Friends Only” or delete any unflattering posts. It’s okay - we all have content out there from 2007 that isn't so flattering. Delete it, and forget about it.

2. Have an active LinkedIn profile.

Have you ever heard the term “social proof”? It’s an important one, so pay attention. Social proof is a business marketing term. If you think this isn’t relevant, think again. You need to think of yourself, and your skill set, as a business. Social proof happens when we believe that the actions of others are the correct behavior. Here is an example: You are deciding between 2 restaurants for dinner tonight. They each have a 4-star rating on Yelp, but only one of them has three reviews that say the service is terrific, the food is, and the ambiance is lovely. That one restaurant also has a Facebook page with 1200 followers, and they are actively posting. Social proof says that you will choose this restaurant over the one with a lesser online presence. You pick it because other people like it. You go there because it’s now the safer bet. The same goes for authorities who are seeking the perfect hire. We want the candidate who is visible online. The one who has a secure network, peer endorsements, stellar recommendations and possibly some personal or professional connections in common. A good hiring manager will always try to find you on LinkedIn. If you aren’t there, you likely aren’t getting a call. Invest in your LinkedIn profile.

3. Google yourself.

This exercise can either be fun, or incredibly frightening. Maybe even a crazy mix of the two, depending on the crazy life you’ve led (wink, wink).

If you Google your name and your Myspace profile comes up on the first page, you may want to put a plan in place for strengthening your online presence. You want to ensure that the content coming up on Google’s first page is relevant and current. Relevant means career or even volunteer related or anything that speaks to your stellar skills and fantastic character.

Next up, go to the Google Images and Videos tabs and make sure all is well there. Sweating yet? This task may be an uncomfortable one, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t have anything “out there” that is embarrassing, socially incriminating or career paralyzing. With your search engine creeping, don’t stop browsing at page one. Sometimes you will find the craziest content on pages six or higher.

Finally, set up a Google alert on your name. Today, more than ever, it’s imperative that you manage your online reputation on a regular basis.