Putting Your Best Digital Foot Forward

Jessica Plutchok | September 21, 2015

putting your best digital foot forward - digital footprintStudies show that more than 92 percent of job recruiters use social networking sites like LinkedIn to find talent. How do you put your best digital foot forward when it comes time to turn your college pursuits into a career? These tips will have you knocking ‘em dead with the best of them…

Martin Yate, one of the foremost experts in this field of job search and career management, discusses these new opportunities in his book Knock ‘em Dead Social Networking For Job Search and Professional Success. When it comes to social networking and social media, Yate provides raw and honest advice to job seekers and employees.

Networking today means more than shaking hands and introducing yourself to other professionals. Social media provides platforms for you to connect with employers and employees from all over the world. Everyone is connected through social media. “The first thing a recruiter or hiring manager hears about you is whatever they read on your social media profile and resume,” says Yate

The most popular professional networking site are LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. Your social media profiles on these sites can make or break your employment opportunities. Regardless if you choose to use one or all of these sites, you want your profile to stand out and entice employers.

Here are some of Yate’s most useful tips:

Understand Employer Priorities

“Understanding exactly how employers think about, prioritize, and express their needs for the job you need to land will give you objective criteria to guide the development of your social media profiles,” explains Yate. Lucky for us, Yate has developed a seven-step tool to help you do this. He calls it the Target Job Deconstruction.

Show, don’t tell: Anyone can say they’re a thinker and a doer, but actually proving you are is what makes you an attractive employee. Use action verbs to show what you can do. Don’t just say you’re innovative and determined, give an example of these traits. You want to thoroughly complete every section of your profile; show potential employers exactly what you did at a prior position. According to Yate’s’ book, LinkedIn Senior Manager for Corporate Communications Krista Canfield shares that the more details, the better – “add some show to your tell.”

Understand the social media site you are using: Although your professional social media profile should remain somewhat consistent, each site has a unique personality that you need to reflect. It’s a good idea to study the different sites to get an idea of each. For example, Twitter is used for brief, quick spurts of information, so your Twitter handle or personal description should be short but effective in presenting your professional self. Google+ uses streams, sparks, and posts, while Facebook uses status updates and sharing features. School yourself in order to put your best social media foot forward.

Clean up your profile: Regardless of what social media site you’re using, there is one common denominator: remain professional. “You need to maintain a consistently professional message across all your chosen networking sites, because recruiters can and do search across all these social media platforms, not only to find initial candidates, but to help winnow candidates throughout the selection cycle,” reminds Yate. This is especially important for candidates who have grown up in the world of social media and have been using it in a sometimes-too-social (read, non-professional) way in the past. If you have anything, including pictures and/or posts that are inappropriate, you should remove it. Yate calls it “cleaning up your digital dirt.” He discovered at a recent convention for college career services that 25 percent of recruiters said they would reject a candidate based on inappropriate social information that’s out there.

Use a professional photo: Visuals are always important. According to Google data, profiles with headshots will always be viewed first. Yate says, “Like it or not, your headshot tells a story, so make sure yours is telling the right story.”

Answer the question “What’s in it for me?”: Potential employers and hiring managers only want the answer to this question. Why should they choose you and what can you provide for their company? In marketing this is known as value proposition- the promise of value to be delivered.

For more information, check out Yate’s book Knock ’em Dead Social Networking: For Job Search and Professional Success.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *