If you’re thinking about the job market, or in it, maybe your social media identity needs to move up your list of prep priorities. There’s a new red flag you should know about.
If you’re an adult, you probably have some kind of online identity. Overall, according to Pew Research, 58% of adults are on Facebook. Of adults who have access to the internet, 71% use Facebook. If you’re in the job market, you probably have internet access, so there’s a good chance you participate in Facebook or some other social network.
If you’re a teen, there’s an even better chance that you have an online presence. 92% of teens, also according to Pew Internet, access the internet at least daily. Social media is a big part of what they do online.
There was a time when statements like, “I don’t use the internet”, or “I’m not on Facebook” were viewed by some as a badge of honor. Serious people could find better uses of their time than messing around on the internet. If you’re one of the unconnected with no online presence, the time has come when it could really hurt your chances in the job market.
According to a new survey by CareerBuilder.com, 35% of employers are less likely to interview (let alone hire) a candidate that they can’t find online. (h/t to our friends at Social Assurity for pointing out the survey)
We can’t know exactly what employers are thinking here, but their reticence to hire a digital nobody could relate to the following:
- Since most people are active online, and they can’t find you, maybe you have something to hide
- Since most people are active online, and you aren’t, your computer and digital communication skills are probably not up to speed
- An online check could be an integral part of the candidate screening process. If they can’t find you, they are at a disadvantage vis-a-vis their normal process
It seems that everyone who has an online presence has a view about just how public or private it is – from the results someone gets when they Google your name to their social media profiles and activity.
Not surprisingly, employers also have a view about how public it is, and what they are willing to do with it in the course of finding good candidates and weeding out weak ones. According to the survey, 56% of employers want to see if the candidate has a professional online persona.
We’ve written before about the good things employers look for in an online profile. We’ve also written about what kind of things you shouldn’t be posting online, when thinking about your future in the job market.
If you’re a digital nobody, it’s time to stake out an online presence. Especially if you are about to enter the job market for the first time without job experience and a work history, there’s a good chance that who you look like online will play a part in whether you get hired.
You don’t have to go all out here: Start with a clean, professional LinkedIn profile, and perhaps a bare minimum Facebook. You can even set the Facebook account to private, but check the privacy settings and make sure that your account is searchable by the email address, especially if you have a common name.
If you don’t want to be active online, you can stop right there, but it’s time to recognize that being a nobody online has a real downside.
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