So you’ve clicked the “Submit” button on the online application. Or you sent the resume to someone specific by E-mail. Or you’ve just handed off your business card to a potential employer in an unexpected social event.
This is an opportunity to congratulate yourself for taking that step, grasping the initiative to move a process forward that could lead to some job or new venture. Now you have to be ready for the research done on you.
Digital Research Done On You
In this age of social media (this is such a cliche sentence start by the way; I intend not to use this again), we tend to know more people who have some presence online than those who do not. I can count on one hand the number of people I personally know who have zero online presence. And given the websites that actually make a business out of distributing our information, it’s more precise to say we may not know anyone personally without an online presence. Those who say they don’t use social media may not be aware that others might be using it on their behalf, and companies have some of their information published on the Internet.
All to say…when we make an intent to form a professional connection it’s likely our information will be searched on the web. We will be personally researched. Knowing this, it is our responsibility to ensure the information we have direct control over sharing matches what we consciously intend. Just as the metaphysical As Above, So Below, the digital principle is As Online, So In-Person.
The Details in the Data
Before you begin sending out your resume or professional interests, take a scan of your social media to update the information and remove content that may not align with your aspirations. I’ve received push back about this recommendation in the past with the view that what one does online is one’s personal business. The reality is as soon as we post or publish something online we consent to receive feedback as a consequence, and (to my knowledge) there are no specific laws stating professionals cannot use social media content as a reason to make a judgment whether you’re a good fit for a position.
As social becomes more a standard communication channel, the content there will be weighed in even more as a factor either disqualifying or supporting our professional opportunities. Like it or not, an opinion or silly pic posted online is akin to doing it in-person, and since in-person is more private, doing it on social just gives companies and people alike more ammo to work against you.
Regarding this, I have two requests:
- Remove your foolish media. These are pictures of you running around outside naked, videos of you lighting your hair on fire in the bathroom, filming yourself (or having someone else film you) twerking for no reason in your underwear in your bedroom, filming yourself going on ignorant-talk tirades, fight videos, throwing rocks at someone’s house and all other forms of idiocy. You know when you’re posting it, your conscience will inform you when you are. And if you’re conscience doesn’t speak to you, then we have other work to do aside from you trying to find a new professional opportunity.
- Update your media. Show your latest jobs, projects, creations, collaborations, organizations, volunteer work. Content that actually reveals you’re developing.
When these people research you that’s what they’re looking to see, your progression and how it matches the values they opportunity possesses. Behavior they view that’s out of line with what they’re doing will be applied to their overall perception of you.
One might ask, “Shouldn’t we just be ourselves? Why do we have to create a facade just to please somebody?”
Response: If you think that presenting the best version of yourself in a space that’s subject to manipulation is putting on a facade, then we need to discuss how to empower your self-esteem.
When you post that bedroom twerk video it’s online (possibly for life) and you’re not always there to defend your view on why you did it, how innocent you were being or playful, just joking around.
Once in the digital space, none of that matters because your content is now subject to evaluation without the need or interest of your original intent. You can save yourself this unnecessary chaos and professional self-sabotage by not posting foolish media in the first place. And if you already have done it, there may be some options like this one.
For bespoke assistance on this topic, feel free to contact me: tr@iamtrentrhodes.