It takes just 90 seconds for a potential employer to decide whether to give you the job, according to career experts – and these days, that first minute and a half is likely to be spent checking you out online. The printed resume is largely a thing of the past now, so with gatekeepers informally profiling you according to your web presence, it is more important than ever to create a positive digital first impression.
LinkedIn is the internet’s answer to the curriculum vitae, but it can be so much more than that: unlike a CV, you are encouraged to sell yourself through text and personal recommendations from your ‘connections’, and failing to do so will let others push ahead of the pack. Just as the choice of font could differentiate the professionalism of an old-school CV, with LinkedIn it’s all about the profile picture: a smart but friendly headshot carries far better connotations than a bathroom selfie or drunken group shot.
The moving image is also gaining importance as digital tech progresses, with Skype interviews now commonplace and video links (think: video biography or personal statement) ranking high in Google’s search results. Prepare for the former by setting up an account under a sensible username and ensuring a good connection is available. As with an ‘IRL’ interview, be sure to maintain eye contact throughout.
On a less formal level, it pays to maintain the ‘play’ side of your persona alongside the ‘work’. Share your sporting or other extracurricular activities (the savory ones) on your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and consider blogging about your leisure activities and interests so that those HR scouts get an impression of you that's more than just a list of qualifications. Ultimately, employers are looking for somebody not just to perform for them, but with whom they’ll share a working space. Check out this great new infographic, created by onstride, that details just how to be that special online applicant.