I could stop the conversation with the title. Short and sweet and loaded with truth. But this is a topic that must be evaluated and discussed until the importance of this dialogue seeps so far into one’s mind and heart that it’s never forgotten.
Online Persona Matters
Too many people lose opportunities simply because they do not understand a simple truth: The first impression often occurs before the first meeting.
Instead of stressing about what you’ll wear to an interview and whether you should squeeze in a haircut before the big day, stress about what an interviewer will find online when they google you.
Remember that Instagram post of the brilliant keg stand you executed on Saturday night? How about the joke with the sexual innuendos you shared last week or the inappropriately aggressive political meme you posted on Facebook this morning? Well, the superintendent at the elementary school you applied to for your dream Kindergarten position remembers it because he found your online profiles and is busy making assumptions about who you are as a person and potential employee.
The superintendent may not cancel your interview, but his reservations about your ability to serve as a role model to children and your ability to exude professionalism and credibility to parents sit at an all-time high. You gave yourself an unnecessary hurdle to overcome simply because your image on social media doesn’t complement the image you’re attempting to present to employers.
Social media and the internet can be a gift. It allows people to stay connected, even when geography makes them physically distant. Everything from recipes, fashion, entrepreneur tips to the perfect getaway ideas are only a few clicks away, and you can complete purchases from your cozy, safe home. Technology is arguably responsible for some of the most significant advancements of our time.
With that said, social media and the internet create a timeline. That timeline can be continually revisited and, many times, by whoever. Do not think that future employers aren’t taking the time to google your name and find you on Facebook and other online platforms because that’s precisely what they’re doing before you sit down for an interview. We live in an age of lawsuits, and because of that, it’s much easier to hire someone than fire someone.
So what does a potential employer do to better ensure they don’t hire someone that ends up being the person they one day want to fire? The answer: They use the internet to look into the person you seem to be and the personality you seem to exude before they even meet you or, at the very least, before offering you a job.
Your interview could be textbook perfection, and yet, your social media presence could have your resume flying toward the trash can faster than the length of your next breath.
Make Your Screen Presence Your Ace in the Hole
The strategy to succeed when it comes to social media and the internet is easy. Simply ask yourself if your content, from words to repost to pictures, portrays you in a way that makes future employers open and excited to see your potential on their team.
It is that simple.
You may think you can say and act as you please behind the safety of your cellphone and computer screens, but this mindset will work toward your disadvantage and, in some cases, professional demise.