By Paul Shonowo, IT Career Consultant
Most graduates assume that their grades and work experience are the most important part of a job application, however you’re wrong. For instance, assume that an employer is comparing you to another candidate and you both have a similar work/educational background, what do you think the employer will do next? Yes you guessed right! They will Google you. The question is what will they see?
I believe that most if not all employers Google their prospective employees as it is a part of their screening process. This could either be a good or bad thing depending on how you portray yourself online. We all know how integral social media is to life, so employers expect candidates to have a social media presence. What image will you portray?
As a career consultant that screens between 50-100 CV’s a day, I will provide my personal opinion on what I think stands out to me when I read through a CV. I will also give you some tips on what you can do to improve your personal brand.
Finding Your Personal Brand
Firstly, for you to manage your personal brand you must be able to understand how it is found.
Have you ever heard of the word SEO? This is a synonym for search engine optimization. In plain English this means drawing attention to a specific point on the Internet. In this case your name.
How does an employer Google your name? An employer would usually use a Boolean search approach in order to get a refined outcome. In other words they will type your name in a certain way so that they can filter through irrelevant distractions. For instance if your name is Brenda Clothing then the employer will Google – “Brenda Clothing” in quotation marks because this will extract the full name rather than anything that has clothing or Brenda on the internet.
If you are trying to find a keyword that has more than one word then use a quotation mark around it as this will find the exact word only.
If you would like to know more about the way to refine your search Google – Boolean search strings.
Locating Your Name in a Text
Since hot keys are keyboard shortcuts for carrying out functions such as cut, copy, or past etc. I would like to show you how I use hot keys to save time when looking for keywords E.G a full name.
Let’s assume that you are looking for a term in a 10000-word script, how would you find every point where the name is without reading the whole text?
You will use the CTRL + F key for PC’s and the CMD + F key for Mac’s. This is a shortcut that you can use to find keywords in scripts, webpages, textbooks or journals etc. Once you press the two keys together depending on the type of script that you are looking at a small rectangular box will appear and you will be able to enter the keyword that you are looking for into the rectangular box. After entering the keyword depending on the script, the name may be highlighted or you may have to click search. You will then be able to see how many times and where the name is quoted in the text by clicking the right or left arrow beside the rectangular box.
This method has helped me to save time during my assignments and dissertation. I am sure that you will find this worthwhile if you use it.
We all know how popular Facebook is and we have all probably been on it for years, however when you’re competing for a job your social media posts could make or break your career. I would suggest that you put your profile on private because you never know how a person could interpretate your photos. I would also suggest that you remove inappropriate posts such as drunken selfies or that half naked holiday picture. It may seem funny at the time but this could be used against you at any time in the future.
I would suggest that you join Google + and populate it with interests and hobbies that may display a positive image of you. Google is the search engine that the employer will use to search for your name, the Google account will most likely be high in the search ranking because it is Google’s own profile platform.
I would strongly advise you to blog, as this is one of the ways that people can learn more about your interests. I have personally read through a blog and felt like I knew the candidate within minutes. You could also be a guest writer for a blog as this could draw attention to your name as long as it is quoted in the text somewhere.
Boosting Your Personal Search
Have you ever made a reference from a news article before? Have you ever looked into the person who wrote the article? Call me weird but I used to do this all the time when I was at University. I noticed that certain writers of news articles were undergraduates. I didn’t understand how until I did some research into how to become student news article writer.
I discovered that it is relatively easy to become a news article writer because some newspapers have a section for students E.G Guardian Students. All you have to do is sign up and then send your articles. The newspaper will screen your script and tell you whether they will publish it or not.
Imagine being an employer for a moment, now compare two candidates that have a similar background in education and work but one has pictures on the internet of parties and alcohol whilst the other has features in top news articles for related topics. Which candidate would seem to be more attractive?
Undergraduates need to remember that recruiters/employers will judge you based on your CV and online presence. The best way to portray a positive image is to show them what they want to see. I’m not saying that you should take selfies with a textbook but you should Google yourself once in a while to check if you were tagged in an inappropriate photo or upload a photo of something that relates to your ambition.
I believe that today’s graduates are in a unique position as they have the power to create a strong personal brand. You are the first generation that is able to create your identity, based around your goals and dreams using a mobile and a laptop. You are in charge of your employability, show what you have to offer.
If you would like any further information about this article feel free to contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org