You want to find out more about someone… where do you start? The internet, of course.

You search Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to dig up as much information as possible and available in the public domain. It’s just what we do. In fact, 80 million names are searched daily.

It’s no different for companies searching for talent. In the U.S., more than 70 percent of Human Resources departments and recruiters search candidates’ names using a search engine to review search results before making a hiring decision.

With this in mind, here are three ways to build an online persona that will win you the job:

 1. Take control of your content. Know what employers are searching for online. 

When employers start searching, there are several things that they’ll be looking for across your social presences. Here’s what they will expect you to have:

    • A positive and professional image. Don’t have a headshot? Have a friend or family member take one for you!
    • A standard presence on all social platforms. You don’t have to be active on every platform – but make sure your profile is consistent on those you do use.
    • A LinkedIn profile. Be sure to add a professional online profile or resume. Your profile should reflect past accomplishments, merits and successes. This can be a form of an online resume.
    • Blog/Website. Sometimes it’s stronger to give your work a proper place to live – like an online portfolio. Depending on your career path, consider creating a blog or website that can link together all of your social presences.

2. Run a check. Google search yourself! Be wary of red flags.

This is the easiest way to see what content pops up with your name. It makes it easier to review all your online content, posts and connections. If your LinkedIn profile appears first when you search, be sure and take time to update your profile and keep it relevant.

What’s a red flag? Think of it as any image or language that you wouldn’t be proud to share with your grandparents. This is why many social networks have settings that allow you to gate your content. While your Facebook photos may be several years old, they are still ‘out there’ for the world to see. Check to see if your friends’ posts are public and un-tag any content that employers may consider inappropriate.

3. Keep your goal in mind. Use the web to grow your network and land the job.

Remember your goal at all times when using the internet - you are looking for a job. You’re online to develop a compelling online presence and increase your network to improve your access to other professionals who can open doors for you. In building a strong online persona, you will:

    • Establish yourself as an individual, apart from other job seekers.
    • Demonstrate professionalism and/or expertise in a field.
    • Convey that you’re keeping up with the times, and have online technical skills. 

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