You might think finding a job these days is easy. After all, the Canadian market has the lowest unemployment in 40 years right now and the economy is booming. There are worker shortages in several key industries, including IT. The IT skills shortage will only get worse as the industry continues to grow.
A job search in this environment should be a piece of cake, right? Many job candidates would argue otherwise. It’s still difficult to land an interview. You might wonder why you’re not getting callbacks. One of the reasons could be your online presence.
Social Media and the Job Search
Everyone uses social media these days. Whether you’re on Facebook or Instagram, you likely have at least one social media profile. You may have several. You may even maintain your own website.
All of this constitutes your online presence. During the job search, potential employers are most definitely searching for you online. When they come across your website or a social media profile, they’re using the information they gather to make a judgment about you as a potential employee.
It’s obviously important for job seekers to consider their online presence during the job search. In a world where a rogue tweet could make or break you, you need these tips to optimize your online presence.
Build a Website
There are many free website providers. Most of them also provide templates, which means you don’t need to design anything from scratch. (Web designers, you’ll likely want to make sure your own website and portfolio is custom.) You can make a beautiful site with Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress.
Why should you build a website? It’s the only space you truly control. Having your own dedicated website makes you appear more professional. You’ll also be able to host a more robust portfolio of your work than you could on a social media network. In short, a website helps you put your best foot forward during the job search.
If you’re not using LinkedIn yet, you should be. Not only can it be helpful for the job search itself, it’s also where professionals connect with each other. You may wonder how useful it is for you, but most employers in the IT industry want to see an IT professional with a network on LinkedIn.
You may feel LinkedIn duplicates your own website or the application you’re submitting to potential employers. It does to some extent, but many employers would rather look at LinkedIn. It also allows you to connect with a wide web of professionals in your field and industry. Your dream job might come from a least-expected acquaintance.
You may believe your other social media profiles are “private.” You use them to connect with friends and family, not potential employers. LinkedIn is for the “professional” you.
You can be sure potential employers are still looking at your other social media profiles during your job search. Although there’s some grey area here, most won’t stop at looking at your website and LinkedIn profile. They may be curious about what you tweet. They may feel this will provide more insight into who you really are as a person and a potential employee.
You can set your social media profiles to private. By default, almost everything you share on social media is public, which means anyone can see it. Adjust your settings to keep someposts private between you and your friends.
Have you thought about SEO optimizing your website or your social media profiles? Make yourself more discoverable by including keywords. Your LinkedIn profile should include your skills, and your website should contain the keywords you want to rank for.
If you’re not discoverable, your online presence isn’t optimized for the job search. Take a moment and make sure you’re ready before you start turning in applications.