Through the eyes of the recruiter: your professional employment impression
Posted on 28 January 2016
Part One: Your job seeking checklist
It’s not just about your CV. It is a large part, but it's not everything. It’s actually about all the information that exists about you online and in the social media communities you are a part of. What is ‘it’? ‘It’ is the impression you make in your online persona. This may seem a wee bit stalky-creepy, but how many people do you know who don’t Google someone when they meet them, let alone when they employ them? Part one of this series on ‘readying yourself for job-seeking’ addresses where recruitment agencies and HR professionals tend to look when assessing the impression of your online persona.
So let’s create a checklist of areas where we, at Potentia, look to examine someone’s fit for a role beyond his/her CV.
The online areas we look at are:
- LinkedIn profile
- LinkedIn discussion groups
- GitHub/Stack Overflow (Developers)
- Personal website/portfolio (Designers)
- Communities you’re involved with (Meet-ups or professional alliances)
- Personal projects (Online materials you are associated with)
- Amongst others...
Within the profiles of your CV, LinkedIn and Seek, we are looking for consistency across all mediums. This ensures that your message and employment information are consistent, linked and authentic. For example, the URL to your LinkedIn profile should be present on your CV. Additionally, the descriptions of your title and role should be the same or at least very similar. Most employers will crosscheck your CV against your LinkedIn profile. If you are a hiring manager, you do this, right?
A quick word on your CV
When writing your CV, there are innumerable opinions on what works and what doesn’t. If there is one thing that you can do, make it look good and easy to read. Use a template, get the information right and make sure that you remove any formatting errors or typos. The moment the reader sees [ones of theeze] (heh heh), your content loses some credibility. Review it before sending it. Ideally, get someone else to review it before you send it. My advice is to download a CV template that you can export as a doc or PDF that you feel reflects your style. There are plenty in the Apps store that are very cheap. These templates will make your CV stand out where others are whipped up in Word or worse, notepad and look ill prepared. Your CV is your marketing material for your job hunt. Treat it as such.
Your LinkedIn profile
There is plenty of information on accurately creating a LinkedIn profile, but if you have any questions here is a good spot to look at. In addition, LinkedIn provides you with automated prompts to complete your profile, giving you a rating in the top right corner of your profile homepage. Getting this right is just the beginning. What we are looking for is your involvement in your community as well.
Some good tests of this are:
- Who you are following
- What you are sharing/liking/commenting on
- Who you are connected to
- Your level of activity in discussion groups
All of these factors demonstrate to viewers your level of engagement with your fellow community members. In some ways, this is used as a litmus test for your ‘passion’ in what you do. We’ll talk about your behaviours and some guidelines, next time.
Online Communities and Social media
Speaking of passion, how do you demonstrate it to a potential employer? What’s a good measure of how passionate someone is - how many hours they work? Without knowing someone, how do you judge this? One question could be, ‘Would s/he do this job if s/he wasn’t paid to do it? Would s/he still be involved in it?’ Your activity in online communities and on social media channels; the content you share, your commentary, likes and follows are all indicators of this to employers and recruitment agencies.
A good thought experiment to work through is: you bump into the hiring manager of a business you want to work for. You’ve got one shot. You introduce yourself and say ’let’s connect’. They do. This hotshot then looks into your background. What will that person find when they look? This is the test that you need to bear in mind when thinking about your behaviours in these mediums. The impressions you make in your online community and networks. If it's great, great. If it’s not, bummer. If it’s nothing, then it lends you nothing in credibility. If you have an impressive record of projects, commentary, group activity on GitHub, that lends you an advantage. Those who work in development, respect that.
And that’s what it is all about - an advantage in the impression you make. These online mediums offer an opportunity to set you apart. That is what you always want in an age of information availability and overload. To stand apart and have the opportunity that others may not.
To enrich your chance of making a great impression through the activities you undertake online, you need to think about a number of things before taking action. That way when you reach out, you will get the job you really want. Not the job you can get. My next post will focus on how to guide your activities through your behaviours on these platforms to gain the most from them and build the most positive and professional impression.