We’ve all always heard that your first impression is the one that counts. You have to be prepared to be “your best self” when you are meeting someone important for the first time – whether it’s a potential employer, a date, or a potential customer. However, have you ever thought about your real first impression?
What is the first thing you do when you hear someone’s name for the first time? You look them up online. Often, this is before you actually meet the person. This could not be truer than during a job search when recruiters are paging through virtual stacks of resumes each day. As soon as a recruiter or potential employer comes across your resume the next thing they do (or even before) is to look you up online. This does not just include LinkedIn but spans across most social media – particularly Facebook and Twitter.
Your online profiles need to provide full and accurate transparency into who you really are. If you give recruiters this full transparency into your life beyond your resume, they will be more equipped to make a good first judgment of you and be able to move more quickly into next steps.
This doesn’t just mean making a good first impression, but to be even more careful not to make a bad one. It’s nearly impossible to rebuild from a negative first impression. However, while you want to come across as desirable to potential employers and others that are looking at your profiles, you don’t want to be misleading and pretend to be someone that you are not. Of course, you want to land that dream job, but not at the sacrifice of working somewhere where the culture does not align with your personality. And these places only want employees who will flourish in their environments, too.
Naturally, you don’t want to make too much information public on your profile, but you also don’t want to block everything from everyone. Having bland or non-existent profiles is nearly as detrimental as having ones that are filled with inappropriate photos and interactions. When someone is looking at your online profile they are seeing what your likes and dislike are; who are your influencers; what are your values; etc. You want to make sure your personality and passions still come through, while not over-sharing. This is important because when you are called to come in in-person, employers will be looking not only to see how you interact in person, but how well you match up to the information and persona you created for yourself online.
In the end, all you can do is portray the most and best accurate you and be aware of your uniqueness. Keep in mind that you are not going ot be a perfect fit for every job in every place. You have to know that while some people may like certain qualities about you, other qualities will rub people the wrong way. You are not looking for someone to like the fake you — you want a job that fits your personality best.