Social Media

Is Your Online Presence Hurting Your Job Search?

online_identity_webWhat you put online can haunt you forever.

Sound scary? It is.

Remember those parties in college and the pictures of you and your friends doing silly, sometimes inappropriate, things? Well, those fun times may come back to haunt you when you’re looking to impress a potential boss.

Today’s employers are savvy enough to scour the web and social media sites to get a feel for potential employees. So, if your digital footprint shows information you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see, then that footprint needs to be fixed, and fast. It could mean the difference between getting the job of your dreams or missing out.

First things first. Type your name into Google or Bing and see what search results show up. If what appears doesn’t show you in a positive light, you may want to start cleaning up your image. Here are the facts and ways you can improve your digital reputation:

Digging Up Dirt

According to the HUHS Library Media Center, 45% of all hiring managers use search engines to find information on people who applied for jobs. And, 63% said that something on a job seeker’s social media site caused them to not offer them a job. Recruiters for college graduate jobs said the same thing, with 50% saying they’ve found information online that ruined a job offer.

On the other hand, only 3% of job seekers regularly check their online presence; in fact, 74% said they’ve done it only once or twice.

Do you know how you really look online?

Think Before You Post

Photos of that beach party or that outrageous stunt you pulled may be lots of fun to share with friends, but it’s a big red flag for employers.

Even worse are questionable photos or posts. A CareerBuilder.com study said the top reasons someone wasn’t hired were because:

  • Candidate posted provocative/inappropriate photos/info – 49%
  • There was information about the candidate drinking or using drugs – 45%
  • Candidate had poor communication skills – 35%
  • Candidate bad mouthed previous employer – 33%
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, or other – 28%
  • Candidate lied about his or her qualifications – 22%

Good Behavior

Don’t despair. Not all online searches yield terrible information that will doom you to unemployment for the rest of your life. Employers can also find the good things about you online too.

According to the same study by CareerBuilder, those good things included:

  • They got a good feel for your personality – 58%
  • You have a professional image –55%
  • Information found proved you were qualified  – 54%
  • You come off as well-rounded and with a wide range of interests – 51%
  • You have great communication skills – 49%
  • You are creative – 44%
  • Other people said great things about you – 34%

What You Can Do

The good news is that you can start cleaning up your online image today. With a little effort, you can make your online presence work in your favor.

But, before we go any further, go to all your social media sites right now and adjust your privacy settings so only people you want can see your posts. It’s okay, we’ll wait.

Now that your sites are private, you can do a couple of other things to erase any bad press a search may turn up. These tips, provided by The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, include:

  • Remove any photos, content and links that are inappropriate or reveal too much information.
  • Be private and selective about who can access your information.
  • Remove inappropriate comments by others.
  • Post links to your work.
  • Don’t vent on a public domain – keep your anger or nasty comments to yourself.
  • Set your social networking profile to private and designate who can view your content.
  • Most importantly, think before you post.

Have you had an experience in which your digital profile meant the difference between getting a job or not getting a job? Share your story in the comments below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Great Apps To Help You Prepare For An Interview

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“There’s an app for that!” is an iconic Apple Inc. slogan, one of several companies capitalizing off of the trend of desktops being replaced by mobile devices. According to a five year report by “Flurry,” a leading producer of app analytics, consumers now spend two hours and 42 minutes a day on their phone, with 80% of that being used for apps and only 20% for internet search.

This increase in phone usage means the need for apps continually increases as well. From documenting every second of your life to maximizing your next selfie, there truly is an app for everything. Among those millions of apps are actually some very useful tools for job seekers. So which of them can help you land that next job? Below you’ll find five apps that are sure to make an impact on your interview preparation.

Glassdoor
Knowing your audience is very important in many facets of life, and it can definitely be a winning factor in an interview. Glassdoor calls themselves the world’s most transparent career community. It is a largely crowd sourced online resource that connects you with company information, employee reviews, salary information, and job descriptions. This knowledge can be helpful in giving you a deeper understanding of the companies that you are applying with.

Interview Prep Questions
Once you get in the door of an employer, it’s not always smooth sailing. Some hiring managers will ask you tough questions that could rock your boat if you aren’t prepared. This quick-flip app displays questions similar to flash cards and lets you get familiar with frequently asked questions so you can give solid, confident answers.

MonsterInterviews
A simple app by career search company Monster. This app has multiple tools to help you prepare with sample interview questions, company research tools, and last minute tips to keep you calm and collected on the interview big day. Another unique function it provides is a post-interview calendar option. With this you can set reminders for follow up calls and save important notes that you can reference if you get called in for a second interview.

Google Maps
Although not directly related to the actual interview, knowing where to go for your interview can relieve one more stressor and help keep you focused on the task at hand. I speak from experience – getting lost and calling the employer for directions doesn’t help put your best foot forward.

How-to-tie-a-tie
An integral part of getting your next job is dressing the part. And, anyone who wears ties in their day-to-day lives will tell you the knot in your tie is very important in how you present yourself. So if you aren’t familiar with tying a tie, this app can definitely help top off your appearance with a top-notch knot.

Not everything can be solved with your digital companion, but when job hunting you can never have too much support. Regardless of how you prepare, be sure to research and prepare for the tough questions. Most importantly, be sure to stand tall, stay confident, and present yourself like you are their next most valuable employee. If you know of other apps that are complementary to the interview preparation be sure, to let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Volunteering Could Help You Find Your Next Job

BrandItBlue_May2014_webWhether you’re a job seeker who just graduated, or someone who’s been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, the experience section of your resume may be what’s holding you back from your next job. But don’t worry. There’s something you can do to not only add to your work history, but to separate you from the crowd of people applying for the same jobs.

A 2013 report by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that “volunteering was associated with 27% higher odds of employment.” This same report also found that volunteering is most likely to help the jobless who do not have a high school diploma and those who live in rural areas. Just how can spending time working for a local nonprofit or charity for free help in your job search? Here are three ways it can help lead to a new job.

  1. Volunteering helps you make connections and build a network.
    If it’s truly all about who you know for your job search, then spending time serving in your community is a great way to meet new people from different industries and companies around your area. And, you won’t have the sometimes awkward pressures that come along with a pre-planned networking event. Enjoy your time sorting donated food or cleaning up a park, or think about striking up a casual conversation to get to know people. You might meet the person who helps you land your next job. Remember this is also a time to demonstrate your work ethic so while you get to know people, don’t forget to focus on the task at hand.
  2. You can learn new skills that can be added to your resume.
    Never been in a leadership or management role? Struggled with finding creative solutions to a problem? The next time you volunteer, there’s a good possibility that you’ll have the opportunity to lead a team in completion of a project, or help find an answer to a problem the nonprofit or charity is facing. And if you’re missing some recent activities in the experience section of your resume, volunteering is a great addition that can make an impact on a hiring manager. Which leads to point number three…
  3. Employers want people who like to serve others.
    Going through the numerous job applications, resumes, and cover letters a hiring manager sees each day, they are looking for a job seeker to stand out. When your resume includes your history of volunteering, and your cover letter describes your passion for serving others, you’re more likely to see an increase in the number of job interviews on your schedule.

If you’re not sure about volunteer opportunities in your community, or what type of work you’d like to be involved in, check out what’s happening on Saturday, June 14 at Express offices across North America. Brand It Blue Day is a day of service to help in the fight against hunger, and you can be a part of it. Summer is an especially difficult time of year as most of the school meal programs for children end, leaving millions of children at risk of going hungry.

To find out how you can be involved with your local Express office, visit ExpressPros.com/BrandItBlue.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Secure Your Social Media

Password_May2014_webSocial media now plays a role in your job search and in the HR world. It’s important to protect your information. Social media security issues often arise as a result of weak passwords. Hackers can easily access your account and hijack your information if you’re not careful about how you choose your passwords.

In 2012, the top three most common passwords were “password,” “123456,” and “12345678.” No matter how many precautions you take to protect your social media networks, if you don’t take the time to protect your password, you may be easy prey for savvy hackers looking to gain access to your accounts.

Passwords and Account Settings

One way to start securing up your social media accounts is by updating your passwords and account settings. It’s important for your safety and online identity to protect yourself by making a few easy changes to your password and account settings.

When it comes to passwords, you’ve got to create sequences of words and letter that are very unique. It’s also important to change up your passwords frequently.

How to Keep Track of all Your Passwords
I know it seems like a daunting task to re-create a unique password every month, not to mention keep track of it, but it could pay off in the future to have safe and protected social media networks.

Having trouble remembering all those different passwords? Try using a password manager application that organizes and protects passwords and can automatically log you into websites.

Worth the Investment
With graduation around the corner, you’ll be glad your sites are secured. A recent CareerBuilder study of 2,100 hiring managers and human resource professionals found that nearly two in five companies use social networking sites to research job candidates. And one in five hiring managers said they found something that has caused them not to hire a candidate. By keeping your accounts secure you lower your risk of fraudulent posts that could be damaging to your reputation. So remember, during your job searching process, the importance of keeping your social media accounts secure and cleaned up.

What have you done to secure your social media accounts? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Spring Clean Your Job Search

Spring Clean Job SearchSpring is here! The longer nights and frosty weather are making way for blooming flowers and sunshine. Many people take advantage of the beautiful weather to clean their house from top to bottom. Spring cleaning has been a staple in regions that have very strong winters and has become synonymous with general heavy cleaning or organizing.

Just like the weather, maybe your job search had been put on ice or frozen during the winter months. Now is as good a time as ever to warm up and revitalize your efforts. As the spring flowers blossom to begin anew, you can take advantage of this time to put some new life back into your job search.

While the spring weather might be a bit colder than the famous groundhog predicted, here are some ways you can spring clean your job search to help keep you focused and improve your chances of getting hired.

Brush Up on Your Reading
There is a wealth of information out there. Not just in the job market, but in your industry as well. To be a desirable candidate, job seekers must be on top of the latest issues and trends in their market. That’s why it’s important to take time out of your day for reading and learning.

Trade journals, blogs, and industry news sites are excellent and often-overlooked resources that can help you stay informed and can differentiate you from the herd of job seekers.

Dust Off Old Contacts
We’ve all been there before. The weather is getting warmer, so you start reaching back for your summer clothes, but find outfits you forgot you even had. It’s easy to be like that in the professional realm when eager job seekers network with as many people as possible. Some people probably have more business cards than pennies, which means it’s time to reorganize your network.

Go through your contacts and decide if you should catch up or discard them. It’s a great opportunity to focus your message and communication skills by catching up with a few selected connections you haven’t seen in a while. The job market changes quickly and you never know what new opportunities these contacts have learned about since the last time you talked.

Out With The Old, In With The New
Make a list of the skills or experiences that you feel are weakest, have the most desire to strengthen, or would like to learn. Research what programs your community centers, tech schools, and colleges offer that can help you learn something new and break out of your shell. Doing this will demonstrate to potential employers that you’re being proactive instead of sending out resumes from a computer all day. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet others who you can add to your job search network.

Get Insight From The Maids
Sometimes, cleaning up your job search can’t be done on your own. Having outside help can give you a new way of looking at something or some helpful knowledge to break away from your normal routine.

A mentor can be very beneficial by giving you critiques and access to job openings. Their insight can help you make needed improvements to get a job quicker and meet leaders in your industry.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you’re not familiar with. Connect with others outside of your network at networking events, industry related organizations, and online forums to gain more referrals and leads.

Another great resource to spring clean your job search would be a staffing company. Most offer free job search resources and can help you with practicing interview skills and resume building.

Scrub Down Your Resume
When was the last time you updated your resume? We all get busy and now might be a good time to add any extra experience, certifications, or skills that you’ve gained in the past year.

It can also be a good time to trim up and cut out unnecessary information on your resume so employers will see the most relevant material first, which will make them more likely to pass on your resume.

Sweep Your Social Networks
More and more employers are being influenced by content on job seekers’ social media profiles when it comes to hiring decisions. In fact, employers are also taking a more active recruiting roll on social networks as well. That’s all the more reason to connect with employers through their Facebook or Twitter profile. Build relationships now to find out about potential job postings and stay fresh on recruiting managers’ minds.

It’s also important to update your LinkedIn profile. You never know when a recruiter will see it, and you want the best professional profile possible. You can also stay on top of online job postings by setting up Google Alerts on job boards and employers’ career pages that will email new openings to your inbox.

Spring is a time of change, and if you do some simple cleaning to your job search, you can make some big changes with a new career. What are some ways you’ve spring cleaned your job search? Let us know in the comments section below.

Find a Job Like Detective Ace Jobseeker

Different ways to find a jobThe days of graduating, posting a resume online, and sitting back while you wait for recruiters and HR representatives to call with job offers are gone. Gone like a host of sparrows escaping the winter months. Odds are, you’ll be scratching up dough at 11 different jobs by the time you’re 44. With all that job hopping, you’re going to need more than just one method of finding a job.

Nowadays, there are several different resources at your disposal to find a job. You just have to look for them, like a detective. Whether it’s job fairs, social media, internships, or staffing agencies, it’s a matter of finding what works best for you.

That’s why Express’ own private eye, Detective Ace Jobseeker, is here to explain. See how he puts his investigation skills to work.


What are some methods you’ve used to find a job? What do you think about the gumshoe Ace Jobseeker? Sing like a canary in the comments section below.

Like, Mention, and Friend Request Your Way to a New Job Through Facebook

Use Facebook For Your Job SearchFacebook just recorded 901 million active monthly users at the end of March. Needless to say, it’s a big deal. Odds are you are one of the millions of users checking their account every day to see what’s going on in the life of friends, loved ones, family, and celebrities.

What’s great about Facebook is you can use this vast market of people and organizations to help in your job search. Best part of all, you’re probably already using Facebook in your normal daily routine. With a few simple steps, you can use this common digital past time to help find a job.

Clean it up
It’s becoming more routine for employers to search candidates’ social media profiles to influence their hiring decisions. Consider cleaning up your profile to make sure it reflects a professional image of you by removing photos or status updates that could reflect poorly, and untag yourself from images you wouldn’t want potential employers to see. If you really must have those photos and memories on your profile, make sure you set them to private so only trusted friends can see the content.

Make sure your future updates are in a professional manner when looking for a job. Be especially mindful when updating after an interview. An employer may be taking special interest in what you say after talking with you.

Implement Interaction
One of the most important tactics in a job search is networking. Facebook can help you stay connected with people from all over the world. It’s time to take advantage of that. For example, post an update to your friends to ask if they’ve heard of any job openings you’re qualified for, or at least asking if they know anyone who does. Provide them links to your online résumé, LinkedIn profile,  professional blog, or website.

You can also use Facebook to interact with companies and organizations you want to work for. They are always looking for more interaction from their customers on social media, and if you can get on their social media radar, the better the chance they’ll notice your résumé. Commenting on status updates and sharing their links are great ways of interacting with potential employers. It also opens doors for you to ask about employment opportunities.

Facebook’s App Attack
Apps on Facebook are more than just Farmville and Socialcam. They can be used specifically to help you build a professional network and find a job. One example is BranchOut, which allows you to build a professional profile on Facebook, network with more than 400 million professional profiles, and search more than three million job and 20,000 internship postings. You can also connect with Monster.com’s BeKnown mobile app on Facebook. Marketplace also has a jobs section that allows you to connect directly with recruiters.

Another option to consider is placing a Facebook ad. Some job seekers have found success using them, but they do cost money, and Facebook ads have been losing effectiveness since they launched. Do your research and see if it could be a viable option for you.

If you’re already on Facebook, go ahead and use it as a powerful tool to grow your network and connect with potential employers. What success stories do you have using Facebook to find a job?