If you are reading this blog post, you undoubtedly use some type of social media in your everyday life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, something. And those are good things. But they are not always great when searching for a job.
Most companies and organizations will perform an internet search on any finalists for open positions. Specifically, they will look for their Twitter feed and their Facebook page and, oh yes, any YouTube videos they may have created.
For a majority of the candidates out there, this really is not a huge issue. Their Facebook privacy settings are secure. They know better than to post racy or offensive pictures. And their Twitter feed is not full of vulgar language and suggestive photos. However, some candidates are not so careful. And their ‘openness’ online costs them the job. Or at the very least puts them on the receiving end of an embarrassing phone call from the potential employer asking them to clean up their online act.
So, a few things to remember:
1) Keep the Facebook privacy settings tight so non-friends cannot see posts, photos, really, much of anything. Even better, keep your Facebook page respectable period.
2) Do not tweet profanity constantly. Avoid spewing hateful or mean comments. And be careful with those photos too. Something you find funny could be offensive to a potential employer.
3) Be judicious about any videos you post on all social media sites. Even something that seems harmless could hurt your shot at the job. Ask a few trusted friends when in doubt about what is appropriate.
4) Google yourself regularly. Be aware of what potential employers see when they type in your name. Make sure it is the kind of content you would want your boss to see.
Job searches are very different today than they were ten years ago. Your resume is not your only representation to future employers. Make sure everything they can find presents you in a positive light.
Andrea McCarthy is Human Resources Manager at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
As a recruiter, I see hundreds of resumes a week, and several stand out to me for good reasons: brief yet descriptive bullet points, good use of space on the page, etc. Others catch my attention for the wrong reasons, and I don’t even want to bother reading them at all. This happens often and has prompted the creation of the following list: no pictures, no pigments, no paragraphs.
1) No pictures: A jobseeker should never include their photo on a resume. A jobseeker should never include ANY photo on their resume. I’ve seen cats, I’ve seen campaign buttons, I’ve seen a political figure’s face with a slash through it. All are completely unacceptable on a professional resume. Recruiters just want to see text. If we want to know what you look like, we’ll stalk you on Facebook or LinkedIn.
2) No pigments: Admittedly, the use of pigments here is a stretch, but I really wanted the whole alliteration thing to work out. What I really mean is, don’t include color on your resume. Do not underline sections with a bright colorful line. Do not use a colored font for your name or address block. And, I have to add, if your name happens to also be the name of a hue of color, don’t include that color all over your resume and try to make it your cute ‘thing’. Just stick to basic black font. You want my attention (or the hiring manager’s) to be on your work experience, not the crazy colors on the page.
3) No paragraphs: This usually comes up in resumes of candidates with several years of experience, but it warrants a reminder anyway. Do not write about your past responsibilities and accomplishments in paragraphs. List them in detailed but short bullet points. Recruiters hate digging through paragraphs to get to the line or two on accomplishments and tasks that matter most.
Avoid the three p’s and don’t sabotage your resume. To some readers these suggestions may seem overly simple, but they are necessary reminders for others. Recruiters and hiring managers like resumes that are concise, neat, and easy to read. No fluff, just facts. For further guidance on resume writing, talk to Emily Miller, Director of Employment Placement Services at the Leadership Institute and Matt Adkins, Job Bank Manager at The Heritage Foundation. Both are experts on resumes, so take advantage of the free critiques they offer. Nothing opens doors as fast as a well-written resume.
Andrea McCarthy is the Recruiter at Americans for Prosperity Foundation where she finds talented individuals to join the AFPF team. You can reach Andrea at email@example.com.
For most jobseekers, the interview process is already nerve-wracking. Crafting a fitting cover letter, waiting to hear back on applications, talking through impromptu phone screens, interviewing in person, and waiting for a job offer or polite rejection are usual parts of the job search, but are usually never fun.
So, when asked to go in for a face-to-face interview, there are a few questions every candidate should ask to make the day less stressful.
First, ask with whom you will be interviewing. Be sure you know their names and titles. Also ask if you will meet with multiple interviewers at one time. Knowing this information beforehand allows you to be a bit more relaxed upon arrival.
Second, ask about parking and any special instructions for getting to the interview space. Parking can often be a nightmare in DC and the surrounding cities. Parking garages are usually hidden, under construction, ridiculously expensive, or all of the above. If street parking is an option, find out, and plan to arrive early enough to secure a spot that may be a block or two away. Also ask if the location is metro accessible in case that proves to be an easier mode of transportation.
Third, always ask for the phone number of the recruiter or one of the interviewers in case you’re running late or an emergency comes up. It is always imperative to call if you are running late by ten minutes or more. Many hiring managers go into an interview with a bad taste in their mouth if candidates are late and don’t call to explain.
Finally, ask if you should bring anything in addition to your resume. Some employers like to see references. Others would like another copy of the cover letter. It’s best to ask and be prepared prior to showing up.
Knowing the answers to the above questions will make your interview experience much less stressful. You will seem prepared and confident, two qualities employers are always looking for.
Andrea McCarthy is the Recruiter at Americans for Prosperity Foundation where she finds talented individuals to join the AFPF team. Advice from Andrea is a monthly column published by America’s Future Foundation’s Career Center Blog. You can reach Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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