By Dan Simmons
The Matrix movie series was rather thought provoking. If you’ve never seen the movies, the premise of the films were about the future; A time where people will exist in reality, as well as in a virtual world run by computers, might already be here. We’re not talking about a government conspiracy, but about two worlds in the 21st century that often collide in all the wrong ways, especially when it comes to your career.
As an individual living in the 21st century, you exist in two places: Reality (the real world) and on the Internet (a virtual world run by computers). This thought makes many feel uncomfortable, mainly because of all the unknowns that face them. Most career-minded people today are online in some fashion: Facebook, LinkedIn or a blog they write for, their name is somewhere on the web.
If you are currently using one of the 3 things I mentioend, great job! Now, the second step is where most people go wrong. When your online presence does not match your real-world existence, people tend to get confused. For example: If you are a top level executive, your profile should have no grammatical errors, legal contradictions, and your email should be listed so that prospective clients can be in contact with you. If your profile picture is of you consuming an adult beverage at the river with some buddies, that would be conflicting for someone reading your profile description.
The reason this is an issue? The first place that potential employers often meet you isn’t in the real world . . . it’s in “the Matrix” (i.e., on the Internet).
You should have more than just an online presence. You should have an online identity. If you’ve been lax in the attention that you’ve paid to your online identity, ask yourself this question: if you knew for sure that a hiring authority would see what’s online about you before they even speak with you or meet with you, how would that change your attitude about your identity?
Why is this a pertinent question? Because that’s exactly what’s happening now. Hiring authorities “Google” the names of candidates long before they call them on the telephone or invite them in for a face-to-face interview. They see what the Internet turns up, including what a general search returns, as well as what information is available on social media.
In our next blog post, we’ll provide some additional tips on how to construct an online identity correctly. When future employers go to Google your name and find a stellar candidate, you’ll want them to echo the words of Neo from The Matrix : “Whoa!”
Daniel C. Simmons is a Certified Personnel Consultant who has been recruiting since 1991. Dan has won over twenty awards in the last decade with the Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network including Placer of the Year in 2009 & 2010.
Frequently Dan also is a recruiter trainer and has been featured at various Top Echelon Conventions and online as a speaker for various webinars. He has also been published in The Fordyce Letter the recruiting industry’s #1 magazine.
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