I have heard the term “digital revolution” about 10 times this week and I have to say it is wearing a little thin…..I know it’s a big deal but what does it really mean to the average job seeker?
It means that you have many more sources to find out information on industries, people and jobs. We used to have job sites like Monster and now companies post jobs on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a whole bunch of industry specific lists like AngelList, Freshgigs and TalentEgg.
You can find out about actual companies at sites like Glassdoor. It started out as a place where employees could post salary information anonymously and then quickly morphed into a place where people talked about their interview and employment experiences. This can be handy but like any user fed information source, it is buyer beware. Generally speaking, only the very happy and the very angry/sad/bitter people share their thoughts and feelings. Definitely take info from Glassdoor with a grain of salt.
Here is the real impact point of this digital business: your resume. When your resume is reviewed, chances are, the person reviewing it is looking you up on social media at the same time.
What happens when you search google for your name? (Hint: use quotation marks to get it right i.e. “Laura Machan”).
Check google images and google news (different tabs on the search page).
You need to see and be aware of what others will see when they look you up. Are there lots of people with same name? Are there pictures of you doing weird things? News clippings about some neighbourhood shenanigans?
If there are less-than-professional items, there is not a lot you can do except contact the site owner and ask for material to be taken down.
You also want to able to explain what was happening at the time to provide some context and alleviate any concerns in an interview situation or maybe even in your cover letter.
The better thing way to solve this is to get out and do more positive activities. Volunteer, speak at conferences, get involved in kids sports. Gradually, those images will push the junk to page six or seven of google and most people lose interest after page three.
Take a few minutes this weekend to look yourself up. You might be surprised by what you see.