This is a guest post by Mark Babbitt, who I just spent 3 days with at #BIF10, who also founded YouTern, one ofTHE best sites for career info. Read, enjoy and apply!!!! And get his book (with Ted Coiné) "A World Gone Social".
You are a Social Age job seeker. A digital native.
Your value proposition is clear. Your resume is immaculate; the LinkedIn Profile: perfect. Your cover letter could have been written by Shakespeare (well, except for the use of “thou” and “leadeth”). Based on these points alone, every recruiter in the universe should want to interview you.
So why aren’t you getting any calls?
We all know it’s important to make a good first impression. Few, however – despite all the advice to the contrary – have grasped the importance of passing another test: the “Second First Impression”.
As we discuss at length in A World Gone Social: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – even Instagram and Pinterest and the very blog you created to showcase your talent – are being thoroughly reviewed by recruiters, hiring managers and HR.
What you may still not know is: these filters are engaged long before the recruiter contacts you. You will never know you were ever seriously considered; you’ll never receive any feedback.
Sadly only 50% of entry-level talent will make the cut. Not due to those red solo cup pictures. And not because you are human and like to have fun once in a while. Except for the social puritans, most recruiters, when they see this stuff, think, “Who doesn’t like to have fun?”
No, those candidates that go from “Wow, this candidate looks really good” to “Um, no… Next!” fail due to one problem: Digital TMI.
Most recruiters define the digital version of TMI as any tweet or post that includes:
- References to excessive partying or illegal drug use (or the after-effects)
- A post that portrays you as an immature high school student (including remarks of a sexual nature)
- Racially-motivated comments (even when directed at your own race)
- Content that denigrates either gender (and “jk” and “lol” does not make this okay)
- Excessive swearing (only the hottest celebrities and most successful bloggers can pull that off)
- Any negative comment about your previous employers
- Entries that display a lack of passion at work (including the all-too-common and innocent-enough sounding “God, I can’t wait for Friday!”)
- Public venting just to make yourself feel better
- Excessive whining, troll statements or diva-like comments
- Victim statements of any kind
Depending on the recruiter, you may get away with one or two of these TMI mistakes. In the long run, however, recruiters are ultimately looking for someone who not only meets minimum qualifications – but is also a fit for the company culture.
And a party-animal whiner who never chose to grow up and then blames everyone else for their insensitive outlook on life is typically NOT a good fit.
(Okay, that’s a harsh example – although I would submit that those entering the workforce leave recruiters with this impression far too often.)
Self-assess your current online brand. Work just as hard on that as you did your resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter. Then take a look at the culture of the companies where you’ll be submitting an application, and ask yourself:
Would my current online presence create a positive “second first impression”?
The original version of this post was published on January 25, 2013 on YouTern.com by Mark Babbitt.
Mark Babbitt is the CEO and Founder of YouTern, a talent community that enables college students, recent graduates and young careerists to become highly employable by connecting them to high-impact internships, mentors and contemporary career advice. Mark has been featured as a keynote speaker and workshop director by the Tiger Woods Foundation, Smithsonian Institute and National Association of Colleges and Employers. He is an in-demand speaker at colleges and fraternities, including UCLA, the California State University system, New York University, Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Kappa Psi.
Together with Ted Coiné, they will be releasing their book A World Gone Social on September 22, 2014.