Applying Job

5 Things You Must Do Before Applying For A Job

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Never apply for a job without making sure your online presence is as ready to interview as you are. Employers will look at the online version of you before they invite the in-person version to an interview, so make sure what they see helps solidify their impression of you as a candidate.

Related: How To Stand Out To Employers When Applying Online

Here are five things you must do before applying for a job:

1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile

If you haven’t revised your LinkedIn profile since your last job, it’s time to make some updates. Rewrite your summary to include your current career objective, and ask colleagues to endorse you and provide recommendations that reflect your job search. Make sure your online resume includes all your newest accomplishments. If you don’t have a professional picture to add to your profile, it’s time to have one taken.

2. Update Your Social Media Profiles

It’s easy to forget to keep your social media profiles updated, especially when you have multiple accounts. Log on to each of your social media services and make sure your profile photo is current and flattering and your profile blurb is accurate. See if you can make your profiles subtly reflect your professional skills without reading like a job application; “I see your copy errors” is a good line for a Facebook profile, while “I have six years of copy editing experience and am looking for work” is too much.

While you’re at it, untag those unflattering or unwanted pics, and delete any posts or tweets that don’t reflect well on you or your candidacy.

3. Google Yourself

You know your potential employer is going to Google you, so go ahead and Google yourself first.

Ideally, your top results are reflections of your work and personality: they should include any articles or print media about your work at previous organizations as well as links to your LinkedIn, Facebook, and other accounts. If you have a professional blog, it should be within the first five links as well and clearly identifiable as your work.

If your Google search turns up negative results, consider a service like Reputation Changer. This service removes negative references and past mistakes on the Internet, leaving your online presence more reflective of your current skills and abilities.

4. Make Sure Your Personal Life Is Out Of The Focus

Many people have personal blogs, Instagrams, or Tumblrs. It’s a good idea to use avatars for personal sites in order to keep your name associated with your professional work and your personal life out of the focus.

However, if you do use an avatar or online handle, make sure to disassociate it with anything you don’t want potential employers to see. You’d be surprised how many people use their Twitter handle as their OKCupid name, for example; and even if your interviewer doesn’t search far enough to make the connection, your new colleagues certainly will. Choose anonymous, unrelated handles for dating sites, diet sites, and anything else  you don’t want your employer to see.

5. Write A Well-Placed Blog About Your Industry

Believe it or not, it’s relatively easy to get published on an online magazine’s blog section. Write a post about a discovery you made while working or your thoughts on industry trends, then submit it to Open Salon or the Huffington Post. If you know your industry reads certain blogs or online publications, submit to them as well. Remember to stay positive and write well of your industry; this isn’t just an opportunity to share your opinions, it’s an audition for future work.

People on the hiring end: how do online searches reflect your opinions of candidates?

Job interviewers: what else have you done to prepare your online reputation before applying for jobs?

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Amanda Green

Amanda is a freelance writer who most often writes about personal finance, business, and career. You can read more finance writing by Amanda at paidtwice.com

6 comments

  1. My advice on applying for jobs is to concentrate on those jobs where you can network your way into finding someone at that company that can give you some advice and hopefully an introductuion to the hiring manager. One of my clients did just that…he had targeted a biotech company in san Diego and asked me and some other of his contacts if anyone knew anyone who worked there. He found 3 contacts, one of which was the hiring manager herself, and a personal friend of one of the my clients connections. So he has an excellent chance at getting a serious interview , if not the job! Tailoring your resume to get screened in by the evil screening software is still a low probability…so concentrate on the networking part!

  2. Interesting topic. Handing out business cards is a great idea, as it establishes trust with the new clients, acquaintances and reflects the seriousness of the relationship created.

  3. Good points. Another to add: Create a resume that can be easily adjusted. That is, once you find a job you like, you can tailor your resume to the job. While a standard resume is a great foundation, adjusting it to each job can help you to stand out in an applicant tracking system, a keyword search, and to the eyes of the hiring manager.

  4. I often worry about #1 as there are a lot of people out there with my first and last name and they have lots of interesting things on the internet.

  5. You forgot a very important one. Let your network know that you are looking. Updating your profile is not enough. Send out a career update email.
    Also be sure that you have business cards wherever you go.

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