I am Andy Sugden. Andrew, to be precise, but Andy is the name I’ve chosen to be referred to as. The one issue with this and creating a successful online profile is that I’m unlikely to ever reach the top page of a google for ‘Andy Sugden’, those spots generally being taken by sites relating to the Emmerdale character of the same name. My Twitter account, @AndySugden, has just crept into the second page of results though, so there’s a start.
Creating an authentic and professional online presence though has more about it than being top of search results. For a start, it’s incredibly important when job hunting to not have anything on your profiles that may land you in the ‘reject’ pile. As the Wall Street journal reported over two years ago, a survey of 2000 employers found that 44% would immediately reject a candidate who had badmouthed a former employer or colleague on a social media site. A recent study (Scott, Sinclair, Short & Bruce, 2014) showed that in general, we see a person who has made spelling mistakes on Facebook as less employable, so even if you do not earn an immediate rejection for bad behaviour, it may well tarnish your chances of being the outstanding candidate.
Authentic is an interesting word in this situation as well. At the end of the day, companies are looking to recruit people with ideas who can get along together, rather than a team of robots spouting the same platitudes day after day. Twitter is a fantastic resource for employers, and for job hunters if we understand how to use it as well. If we are authentic online, can post articles we are interested in and showcase opinions that aren’t divisive or extreme, we can show that we aren’t those robots and that we can be a very useful cog in the team we wish to join.
Realistically, building an authentic professional profile online is all about being the best bits of us, showcasing our skills and talents to some extent, while making sure we don’t show anything that could lead to us being dumped straight on the ‘reject’ pile.
Google (and ‘LMGTFY’, sorry to anyone who clicked that!).
Kwoh, Leslie, 2012. Beware: Potential Employers Are Watching You, The Wall Street Journal.
Scott, G. G., Sinclair, J., Short, E., and Bruce, G, 2014. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 17(8) doi:10.1089/cyber.2013.0584.
P.S. I hope no-one ever Googles me and presumes I burnt down a barn and killed my adopted mother.