Take 10 seconds to Google yourself. Do you like what you see? Would you hire you? Can you find anything worthwhile or is it all old pictures of you on a beach in high school? Those search results are easier to alter than you may realize.
Whether you're a fan of digital branding or not, our newfound period of isolation has made our digital presence more important than ever. For those of us looking for a job, internship or professional opportunity (that should cover most of us), this forced time at home may feel like a curse.
While I understand those feelings and often have them myself, I challenge you to look at this time as a gift and a chance to create the best online version of yourself possible. Still need convincing? Check out these stats;
It is estimated that over 70% of employers use social media to determine whether or not to hire a candidate.
Linked-In is used by over 575 million people and LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook or Twitter.
90% of job recruiters regularly use Linked-In.
Imagine how these numbers will increase as we are all forced to stay home? There is no better time to make yourself stand out online. Here are a few quick tips to make your digital life a little more appealing;
1. Actually use your LinkedIn
Simply having a LinkedIn page won't cut it. Challenge yourself to post a few times a week. It's totally okay to share someone else's post or comment on something you found interesting. By doing so, you are showing your connections and potential coworkers/bosses what it is you actually care about.
Why should they hire you anyway? Are you actually interested in the field you're applying for? It doesn't have to be six paragraphs of perfectly punctuated commentary, all it takes is a line or two telling your readers why this article, post or picture got your attention.
2. Follow pages and accounts that interest you
This goes for LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and any other social media platforms I may have missed. The people you follow matters. This is the content that you are seeing and processing every single day.
Not a fan of reading or watching the news? Fine, but at least follow a few news source accounts so you can stay somewhat up to date. Interested in marketing? Great, go ahead and follow a few accounts that post marketing updates. This is the information you bring up in an interview to show that you're current and pay attention to the world around you.
3. Create a digital portfolio
The work college students, high school students and young professionals complete in class or on the job is incredible. Since odds are, it's going to be a while until you're able to show off your physical work portfolio, do yourself a favor and create an online version. It doesn't take long to upload copies of classwork, projects or presentations either to LinkedIn or your own webpage.
If an employer is on the fence about whether or not to hire you, this is a great place to point them. Now not only do they have examples of everything you've worked on, but they can see you care enough to provide that information in an easy to navigate format. It's less of a risk for them when they can see ahead of time what you've already done.
4. Write out a pitch as to why a company could benefit from you digitally
Odds are, many internships and jobs will become digital in the next few months. It's equally likely that some of these positions will stay that way even after the quarantine is over. When a potential or planned employer questions whether or not you would be a valuable digital member of their team, give them a concrete answer.
Think about your intended job position, what would this look like as a digital position? What could you bring to the table when it comes to remote work? How do you make yourself a valuable asset and not just a pain to hire? Now is the time to sell yourself!
5. Clean up your social media
This is a PSA for everyone, not just middle and high school students. Your potential employers, friends, bosses and potential boyfriends/girlfriends are going to look at your social media. They may even dig back a year or two. What you post, share and like will come up and define who you are.
When using LinkedIn, your profile shows what posts you have liked. LinkedIn is not the place to share your radical conspiracy theory or your questionable picture from freshman year of college. If you would be uncomfortable talking about it in an interview, don't post it....anywhere. What's worth more to you, a paying job or a few hundred Instagram likes? Your call.
These five things just scratch the surface of becoming the best online version of yourself but you have to start somewhere. So today, as you're binge-watching The Office for the 10th time, do a little spring cleaning on your social media. Think about what you can bring to the digital table. If you can't think of much, make a change. Learn a new skill. Take a few online classes.
There is no better time to connect with those around you. Even the world's most impressive are sitting on their couches scrolling through social media. Maybe they'll stumble across your profile...would they offer you a job or keep on scrolling?