Curating Your Online Image

  • Posted by: Chaloner

This week’s blog post is written by Chaloner’s Jenn Saldarelli. Jenn is a senior associate at Chaloner and has spent a decade in executive search. She has led searches for mid- and senior-level communications and marketing professionals for non-profits, Fortune 500 organizations and PR agencies large and small.

One of the first things I do when I’m examining a candidate is go online. For me, seeing how a candidate portrays her/himself online is a vital step in the vetting process. And I’m not alone. A 2014 study by Jobvite revealed that 94% of hiring managers use social networking sites to research applicants. So how do you make sure we like what we see? This week I’m going to review the do’s and don’t’s for your online presence.

As a recruiter, LinkedIn is one of my most helpful tools. A LinkedIn profile can help you project your image before you come in through the door. Unfortunately, there are some avoidable mistakes a lot of candidates make. Make sure you have a clear, professional photo on your page. In your photo, you should be dressed in clothing that is appropriate for your respective industry. Use the “Summary” box to provide a bio or a mission statement that speaks to the person behind the resume and as an area to provide career highlights or key skills concisely. At its best, a LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to share your experience (make sure dates and titles are the same as what’s on your resume!) with more personal touches. Don’t be afraid to use the Additional Info section to share your interests and goals; recruiters love to do keyword searches on LinkedIn so if you’re passionate about climate change but haven’t yet worked in that area, this is your opportunity to help us identify you.

You’ve heard it time and again, from college admissions counselors to hiring managers, and it’s true: what you present on Facebook can impact your professional career. Does this mean you can’t post pictures of the wedding you went to last weekend or your wild college reunion? Not necessarily. But be diligent about your privacy settings; Facebook makes it easy to specify your audience. Of course, if you’re not sure who will be able to see it, don’t post it. Better safe than sorry!

Twitter is one of the most popular social media sites, but to some it’s also one of the most enigmatic. Do hiring managers care what you’re tweeting about? In a word, yes. Ideally, you should be seamlessly projecting your personal and professional brand online. Make sure your brand is consistent. Tweet about what’s relevant and interesting to both you and your field. Beyond the content, employers are going to be looking at how often you tweet. For example, if you’re applying to be a social media director, you should have an active personal Twitter feed.

While the common narrative about job applicants’ online image is a cautionary one, I’m more optimistic. Social networking sites are actually an opportunity to show your polish, poise, voice, and brand. Show your best self online, and you’re more likely to be invited in for that all important in-person interview.