Job candidates spend a lot of time (hopefully) polishing their resumes and cover letters; they also (hopefully) devote just as many hours to refining their online profiles. But how many of them pay close attention to making sure their application materials and online profiles complement each other?
Whatever the answer, it’s broadly accepted that recruiters and hiring managers scan a candidate’s presence on social media before scheduling an interview or making an offer. If your “personal brand” isn’t consistent between your resume and your online life, it might not scuttle your chances at the position, but it probably won’t help things, either.
What makes a good personal brand? Simply put, it’s a combination of your values, behaviors, strengths, and images; it should instantly convey to an employer what exactly you have to offer in terms of aptitude. Your brand should be “real and authentic,” one career coach told Dice earlier this year: “It’s your professional reputation and how others perceive you without spin or hype.”
With that in mind, take a look at your resume or CV. What skills and experience do you highlight? Are those same skills and experience reflected on your social profiles? If not, take the time to make your profiles match.
When it comes to tending your online brand, it’s also important to engage. Contribute to discussions that deal with your industry, make friends, and contribute to GitHub and other places where tech pros (digitally) gather. Leave recommendations; chances are you’ll get a few in return, which will help you sell your skills and experience. Just make sure that you keep everything professional—you don’t want a potential employer to see you ranting about someone else’s personal opinion.
Once you have your online profiles and websites in a good place, you can begin inserting them into the signature block of your emails, your cover letters, and even your resumes and CVs (in the lattermost case, if the aforementioned URLs are short and extremely relevant). Code samples can greatly strengthen your argument for why you should work for a particular company.
By the same token, your resume and online profiles shouldn’t exist as perfect mirrors of one another. The online world is somewhat less formal than the materials you use when applying for a job; you can feel free to add a dash more personality to your websites and profiles. If you have a fun side-project that utilizes your skills, for example, a personal website is a much better place to emphasize it than your resume, where space is at a premium.
And when it comes time to apply for a new job, and you’re polishing up all your materials, make sure there are no gaps or misalignments between your profiles and websites; for example, make sure your resume doesn’t say you worked for a particular company for five years when your Twitter and Facebook profiles say you only worked there for three.