After applying for a job, the next step in getting that interview is to get filtered by the screeners. The screeners are people who examine prospective job applicants after their resumes have made it through the automated keyword filtering system done by a computer. In order to get to that final important step, the job interview, you need to make it through the screeners. These screeners, however, search the internet for your online reputation and create an online portfolio for you.
They are involved with reducing the applicants to a reasonable, more manageable level. They comb through the remaining resumes, looking for anomalies and discrepancies in each job application, or any indication that the prospective employee would be a poor fit for the company. Even if your resume is perfectly tailored to make it past the filtering system, the screeners can stop your application dead in its tracks based on what they find out about you, which is why your online profile is so important.
Many screeners now look online to learn more about prospective employees. The impression they get from your online profile can affect your chances of being hired. If your resume lists extensive experience with internet marketing but they find a forum posting you made only six months ago asking how to advertise your website, they’ll probably conclude that you’re exaggerating your experience level or putting your whole resume into doubt. Or if they see disturbing and/or inflammatory material that they think you have written, they may decide to pass you over for an interview, no matter how well your resume reads or how long ago you wrote those things. No one’s proud of everything they ever did in high school or college, but those who have grown up in the post-Internet era will see things follow them that they’d rather forget about, something the older generations rarely had to contend with.
Before you apply for a job, take a good look at your online reputation and profile. Do a little sleuthing and imagine where the company might first go to look for information. If your online profile is possibly going to prevent you from being hired, take some steps to clean up your reputation. Remove questionable material from the internet and from search engines. Use professional email addresses with your name and not some cartoon character. Make sure your online identities are truly anonymous and are not linked to your real name.
Be proactive in your online reputation repair. Develop newer and better online profiles for yourself. Participate in forums relating to your job and write replies that can demonstrate your abilities. Create your own resume blog and make it rank on the search engines for your name. The more results you can dominate on the search engines, the less likely they will find your older, potentially damaging information. Companies may have the resources to find information about you, but you also have the ability to make changes.