Virtually, you could be standing in the way of your dream job

Back in the day, the Curriculum Vitae (CV)was the be-all and end-all in getting a job – a two-page document that boasted your education, experience and of course, yourself. There was no room for error because in almost all cases your CV was that metaphorical foot in the door.

Not anymore…

Research has shown that 80% of employers will “Google search” potential candidates before even contacting them for an interview. A poll commissioned by CWJobs has revealed that employers will often take candidates’ online presence and social media activity into consideration when deciding whether or not to hire them. Younger job applicants have known this for quite a while now, and many actively clean up their social-media presence in advance of interviews.

Twenty years ago, we talked of “going online,” because our online worlds were distinctly separate from our offline lives. Today, thanks to smartphones, wearable technology, and the forever expanding Internet that surrounds every corner of our lives, we’re online all the time, telling anyone and everyone about what you are doing, where you are and how “mental” that party was last night.

We’ve quickly embraced the idea that doing something online is the same as doing it offline – in the real world. Thinking about it, you wouldn’t shout an insensitive joke in a crowded room; yet that’s basically what people do when you publish an insensitive comment on Twitter – only, this “room” can hold millions of listeners and they can always tie the comment back to you. For example, back in 2013 when Justine Sacco, the ex-communications director for the Internet giant that owns popular websites like Match.com and Vimeo was fired after tweeting hateful comments just before she hopped on a plane to Africa. We are increasingly becoming aware of the indelible nature of our digital presence and responding accordingly because most of us don’t want the next Twitter shame mob to descend on us.

Your personality is embedded in your online presence and, taken as a whole, these details give a prospective employer a much fuller, more complete picture of you than your two-page CV could ever do. Ideally, you have to embrace the idea that what you do online is just as important as what you do offline.

So next time you head into an interview, just consider the fact that your potential employer has already had a nose at the virtual you.

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