On The Job Hunt? Clean Up Your Digital Footprint!

vOn The Job Hunt? Clean Up Your Digital Footprint!

With graduation vastly approaching, now is the best time to tighten up your online presence AKA your digital footprint. Everything you’ve ever done on the internet is probably still there and might not paint you in the best light. So before you send in those applications, spruce up those cover letters, and schedule interviews, make sure you are aware of how your online presence presents you.

What’s a digital footprint anyway?

 

A digital footprint encompasses all of your online activity. Everything from likes, comments, online purchases, and social media posts are all connected to your name on the internet. Every time you post something online, websites collect all of your information by installing cookies on whatever device you’re using. They can gather your login credentials, IP address, and any other personal information about you available online. All of these tidbits of information add up to your digital footprint. Whether it’s good or bad is up to you…

 

How do I clean up my digital footprint?

 

There are several ways to change and edit your digital footprint. As long as you take the time to be tedious and do your research, your footprint will look a lot cleaner and hopefully represent you in a more professional way. Get started with some of these tips:

 

Make strong & secure passwords:

 

It’s important to make strong and secure passwords to keep your digital footprint in check. These strong passwords can also enhance your online privacy. Create complex passwords that don’t include any personal information about you that people already know or could publicly see online. For example, any birthdays, birth years or even nicknames could easily be guessed by someone who has seen your information online. Try to use symbols and numbers to mix up your passwords, making them harder to guess. This includes using caps, @ signs, 0 instead of O, and so on. Don’t forget to change your passwords every couple months to ensure you are keeping your information secure from hackers.

 

 

Google yourself:

 

This may feel cliche or unnecessary, but don’t worry, it’s not. Google yourself using your full name and the shortened version of your name, if you have one. For example, try searching “Michael Owens” and “Mike Owens” to make sure you don’t miss anything that might be listed under your name. Pay attention to any questionable written content you wrote maybe in college or even earlier in your career that might get brought up during the job hunt. This can also include any of your social media posts. Check the first couple pages of Google to make sure everything you see is positive and professional. Don’t be afraid to try other search engines as well (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) so you can be sure all the information about you matches up.

 

Implement changes:

 

Now that you’ve done all the preliminary work to enhance and update your digital footprint, it’s time to start making the necessary changes. Assess your social media accounts first, since those will be the first area your future employers will most likely look into. A recent study showed that 54% of employers found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate. Make sure your usernames are appropriate and professional; “@sarahlovesbeer” should not be something a future employer sees when searching your name.

 

Browse through any old photos of you to see if any need to be removed from your profile or hidden from public view. Read through tweets and any status updates or location check-ins that you might not want future employers to see. Now is the perfect time to adjust your privacy settings if you haven’t in a while. There is always the option to make your social profiles private which means your personal information will be hidden from the public, except for a small profile picture and your name.

 

Taking the time to clean up your digital footprint should be just as much a priority as updating your resume. It’s essential to show the best version of yourself, and that starts with your online persona. Follow these steps to enter the job hunt ready and prepared for a successful future!

A Lesson In Communication For Extroverts

A Lesson In Communication For Extroverts

We often write posts to help the more introverted among us improve their communication skills. The people who don’t know how to start a conversation or keep it going are obviously the ones who need help. The thing is introverts are often actually really great communicators because of their innate skills at listening. We rarely think of offering advice to extroverts because they’re already at the front of the room in full-on communication mode.

 

However just because a person is talking up a storm that doesn’t mean they are great communicators. They could actually be terrible communicators. Their constant talking can be more noise than communication. Their self-absorbed chatter more off-putting than interesting.

 

Get to the point

Some people are so enamored of listening to themselves speak they don’t pay attention to what they’re saying. Or that they lost their audience a long time ago. Not every detail of your story or experience needs to be shared. You don’t need to give more than an example or two of what you’re trying to convey. Strong communicators are concise and to the point. They leave people wanting more. The time for more is in answer to a question at the end.

 

Listen

As we talked about with introverts, one of most important communication skills has nothing at all to do with speaking. It’s all about listening with focus and attention to what the person you are speaking to is saying. That way when you do open your mouth you can actually discuss the topic at hand without dancing around it. Listening doesn’t start and stop with the ears. It involves paying attention to body language (and getting in sync with the person you’re speaking to). It also involves full attention. That means, not thinking about your responses or where the discussion is going, but staying fully with it at all times.

 

Give people space to have their say

Some extroverts get so excited about what they have to say they let their words bowl right over the words of the person they’re speaking with. If you have a tendency to just jump in as soon as a thought enters your head learn to reign it in. Your point will wait – and you won’t lose the respect/attention of the other person. Even if you think you know what the other person is going to say, keep it to yourself. Finishing someone else’s sentence might build camaraderie the first time you do it. After that it diminishes what the other person is trying to say.

 

Maintain eye contact

You know how you know when someone is listening to you. You see it in their eyes. The eyes that are maintaining contact with yours. Conversely, if a person’s eyes are scanning all over the room you can be pretty sure their mind is equally absorbed elsewhere. A distracted mind makes for a distracted conversation.

 

Great communicators put the person in front of them first. The one who is feeling seen and heard – and is happily listening to what they’re being told.

“To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence.” Arthur Schhopenhauer

"To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence." Arthur Schhopenhauer

Some projects are so difficult they make my brain hurt. There are hard deadlines that have to be met. Other people that need to be coordinated with. Details that can’t fall through the cracks. Lists. All dancing around the actual work itself. Dancing around all of that is the rest of life. Family, exercise (that I remind myself must be squeezed in) eating right.

 

The desert island of my imagination

When the going gets particularly difficult I imagine what it would be like to pick up and leave everything behind. I revel in the joys and peace of solitude on a desert island. However, since desert islands are out of my snack bracket I push through. And day after day things manage to get done.

 

The domino effect of accomplishment

As each part of the project falls into place, the next piece feels slightly more doable. Accomplishing leads to more accomplishing. Light begins to illuminate the way through the darkness of I’ll never get through this. The half way point is reached and inevitably the project is complete.

 

The delight of existence

The feeling of accomplishment of a completed project is better than the imagined joy of the desert island. It feels as great as the thought of everything involved in doing the project in the first place felt terrible.

 

That’s the thing about life. You cannot really understand light unless you understand dark. Happiness is far more tangible and strong when compared to sadness. The thrill of achievement is much stronger when set against the difficulties traveled through to get there. No one likes overcoming obstacles. Going through difficulties is stressful. We are not here to say difficulties are a good thing. What we are here to say is that there are benefits to going through them in terms of learning and growth. And that the taste of success is sweeter for the bitterness ingested along the way.

Make The Most Of Your New Job

Make The Most Of Your New Job

You worked really hard to get this new job. You learned, you planned, you networked, you beat out all the other candidates. Congratulations. Although at first glance it may seem like you’ve reached the end of the line, but in actuality you’re just at the starting gate. Now it’s up to you to make the most of this new opportunity!

 

Approach your days with enthusiasm

The other morning, I was in Starbucks and the barista in there made my day. She smiled broadly when I got to the front of the line, made a joke, said some other bright thing. I get coffees just about everyday and no barista made an impression on me like that one. The rest of my day was better for being in her company for two minutes in the morning.

 

Your attitude is contagious. No matter what your job, bring your full enthusiasm to every day. The people around you will notice and respond to it. You will become someone others want to work with. When new opportunities come up you’ll be a natural choice.

 

Prepare to learn

When you come into a new job, no one expects you to come in with full knowledge of all procedures and processes. They do expect you to make it your business to learn what’s expected of you. To ask questions and seek out help as necessary. Beyond that if you want to excel, take the initiative and learn a little extra about things that could be of benefit in your job. Demonstrate your willingness to go beyond what’s expected.

 

Look the part, act the part

We’ve all heard the phrase fake it until you make it. Essentially that means live your life in the manner you would live it if you’ve already achieved what you’re after. That doesn’t mean going to expensive restaurants you can’t afford. It means have the mindset and attitude of the successful person you intend to be. Look around your new surroundings. Pick the person you who’s already achieved what you want to achieve. How do they dress? What is their attitude toward others? What is their work ethic like? Emulate them.

 

Take initiative

Once you have the lay of the land don’t get comfortable and complacent in your job. If you want to get ahead, look out for occasions to stand out. If you see a way to help make things easier or better or more streamlined for the organization go ahead and make suggestions. Create opportunities for yourself where you can.

 

Do more than is expected

Some people do the bare minimum to get through each day. Others do exactly as much as is expected. People who excel outwork the people around them. They volunteer to learn new things. They continually expand the parameters of their comfort zone. People around them take notice. Be the person who gets noticed for all the right reasons and watch your new job evolve with you.

Cracking Open The Door Of Your Next Potential Employer

Cracking Open The Door Of Your Next Potential Employer

You’ve been researching companies in your field and you’ve found the one you really want to work for. You jive with the company culture, you believe your skills and experience would be a perfect fit for the employer. One problem. They aren’t currently hiring.

 

Create your own opportunities

You may not be able to snap your fingers and create a job out of your profound desire to be there, but you can certainly track down the contact information of someone who currently works there. Or a recruiter with a relationship with the organization.

 

Open a dialogue

Step one contact the person and ask them if they’d be willing to have a coffee with you to talk about the company. Let them know you are not specifically looking for a job (even if you are) but that you are simply looking for information. Most people are willing to give half an hour to an enthusiastic (not obtrusive) seeker. In general people like to help others, even strangers when they can.

 

Ask specific questions about the company. Inquire into their career trajectory. See if they have any advice regarding things you can do to expand your career potential in general and specifically within the context of this particular employer. Have a list of questions ready before hand so you don’t waste the opportunity.

 

Thank them for their time

Following your discussion thank them for their time and leave. Follow it up with a thank you note and leave it at that. Don’t follow up or pester them. You got what you needed from them and left a good impression of your go-getting self.

 

If something comes up they will likely contact you to let you know. Your career search is all about connections and networking. Leave a likeable, professional impression. People want to work with people they like!

“That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.” Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson facebook

You get up every day around the same time. You stumble into the kitchen, turn on the coffee maker. Or if you’re totally with it you grab the coffee from the machine you had set the night before. You eat a variation of the breakfast you eat every day. Maybe you go to the gym. Maybe you skid into work just under the wire. You put in your eight hours and come home.

 

Days fold into weeks

The days fold so seamlessly into each other that you start counting weeks instead of days. Life zips along. There’s nothing wrong with your zipping life. It’s actually pretty good – except who’s driving it? Without dedicated monitoring it’s easy for us to let routine take charge of our lives.

 

The downside of routine

There is nothing wrong with routine. It streamlines the days, it gives us time to think about new things while older ones take care of themselves. Routine makes for a smooth-running life and society. The problem isn’t routines exactly. The problem is when, rather than adding convenience to life, life becomes routine.

 

There will never be another today

As we automate our days to make them run smoothly we can lose track of absolute specialness beyond the automation.

 

Your kids won’t have the experiences of today tomorrow. The song you shared with your best friend won’t come on the radio at the moment you think about her tomorrow. The trees won’t all burst with new life on the same day again until next year. The preciousness of each day lies in the fact that it is unique. Rushing through the days on the train of routine we often forget to look out the window to see what’s on offer.

 

Make sure you take time each day to notice what’s special about the day. Savor it. You don’t remember days or weeks. You remember the moments that populate them. Moments that will only come once.

The Ins and Outs of Thank You Notes

The Ins and Outs of Thank You Notes

Everyone knows the job interview isn’t over until the thank you letter is written and sent. But sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what to say. Then there’s the sending. Email or mail mail? Hand written or typed? This is your last impression. You want to make sure it’s a memorable one!

 

Essentially the thank you letter is like a feel good, post interview highlight reel. You get to quickly reiterate the skills/experiences you discussed during the interview. Bring up an interesting point of discussion you shared and say one more time just what a good fit you are for the job.

 

When to send it

Since you’ll be talking about things that happened during the interview you’ll want to ensure you send the letter within 24 hours so you are still fresh in the interviewer’s mind. The best way to ensure it arrives in good time is to send it via email. A way to make sure you stand out even more is to also follow up with a written thank you note. If you go that route make sure you touch on different points in the second note.

 

Notes on the note

A thank you note shouldn’t be long. Your first priority is thanking them for their time. After that find something of interest from the interview to highlight. An interesting point of discussion you had or something about your skills/experience that stands out for this particular job. Try to mention something that will help them remember your interview in particular. Reiterate how excited you are about the job and say again how much you would like the position. Ensure your contact information is part of the note.

 

Note: Even if you think the interview went badly it’s important to still send a note. It’s good practice for you and it will leave a professional impression with the interviewer.

 

If after the interview you decide this job really isn’t for you, send a note anyway. Tell the interviewer how much you enjoyed meeting them and hearing about the opportunity, but let them know it’s not for you.

 

Who to send the note to

Obviously you’re sending the thank you note to the person who interviewed you, but what if you were interviewed by numerous people? If it was a group interview, you can go ahead and send a thank you to the team. If you were individually interviewed by more than one person then each of them gets a separate note. Ensure you are collecting business cards as you go so you have the correct spellings and titles of each person!