Use of social media revolutionizes the definition of a traditional resume

Sure, we all know about social media. With sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s easy to get lost in the lighthearted or humorous side of online networking. But do you know just how vital things like what you post, the language you use and who you follow can be when searching for a job?

I read a Forbes article recently that discussed the growing trend of companies running online searches on potential employees. The author, Dan Schawbel, predicts that this movement will continue to rise and “online presence searches will become as common as a drug test.”

With more and more businesses using the Internet to search for prospective employees, cleaning up your language is no longer enough to attract recruiters. To win over a new boss, here’s a list of ways to improve your online presence:

1. First Things First – If you don’t have accounts with popular social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), get an account ASAP!

2. Account Setup – Make sure your username or site address is professional and identifiable. While the Twitter handle “KittyLvr85” may describe you perfectly, it’s best to keep it simple by using your first and last name only (numbers at the end if necessary). Similarly, make sure all of your “Bio” or “About Me” sections are accurate and up-to-date.

3. Photos – Make sure your profile picture accurately identifies you.
Companies are looking for a profile photo that accurately depicts you, not a picture of you and 15 friends making silly faces at the beach. Today, most social media require a square profile picture, so choose a photo that will crop and resize appropriately.

4. Keep it Classy – This should be self-explanatory, but keep your account content appropriate. Be sure to check your pages regularly for any tasteless posts or tags from friends. The best rule of thumb is this: If you have to question it, get rid of it! Remember, even when you aren’t searching for a job, people are always out there watching.

5. Linking – Though many people aren’t aware or don’t take advantage of it, linking your various social media accounts back to an online resume (such as LinkedIn) or a personal website makes you all the more marketable to potential employers. A personal website can be created by purchasing an online domain (Schawbel recommends GoDaddy.com). If you have art, photography or designs to display, consider creating a free page on sites such as deviantart.com, beehance.net or wix.com.

6. Friends and Follows – Just like in high school, whom you connect with speaks volumes about your personality and character. Instead of only following your friends and favorite celebrities like those of Duck Dynasty or the Kardashians (no offense, we love y’all!), connect with the accounts of professionals, organizations and those with expertise in your field. Plus, there are even accounts created for job listings! Some of these accounts include Tweet Smarter, PR Jobs and Intern Queen.

Got any more tips for increasing your professional presence online? Post them in the comments below!