We’ve already covered personal brand, so let’s talk about preparing other areas of your online personality that employers will seek out to determine your suitability.
There have been plenty of stories in the news about social media, and how people found themselves out of a job, or out even as an applicant, because of social media posts. While our job as interviewers and hiring managers is to be as unbiased as possible, your public social media posts are fair game for scrutiny and judgement.
On one hand, you should always feel free to be your true self. On the other hand, if you want to work at a particular company you might need to “groom” your online presence to appear as though you’re just like their employees.
This isn’t a great feeling – do you be dishonest, hide your viewpoints, take down artwork or photos you really love? Or do you show everything about yourself and hope for the best?
The truth is, it’s a gamble either way. Some companies are looking for game-changers, and if you look like the status quo they might look for others. If you look like you might rock the boat, and the company doesn’t want that kind of employee, then you might get rejected as a candidate, too.
There’s no easy answer here, other than networking. Meeting people from the company will be the best way to tell how you should prepare yourself to apply for a job.
LinkedIn, and other related job sites, are a great place to list projects, old jobs, get validated for skills, and start your networking. You don’t want to completely overwhelm people with information, but having a very sparse online presence on these kinds of sites could hurt your chances as well.
Sharing industry-relevant news will show you’re interested in certain topics. Joining “groups” on LinkedIn and joining in on discussions are also very helpful ways to get noticed. You can do this without being an expert on a topic. Share your opinions and thoughts, learn from feedback, and keep going.
We covered side projects in a previous chapter. But here’s one of my favorite tips for side projects:
If you find a company where you REALLY want to apply to work, find out if they have any projects you can emulate. Do they have an API or a library you can build something with? Now, when you apply, you’re not just some random person who has technical skills – you’re a consumer/user of their product. This changes your introduction completely.