Sunday, November 23, 2014

Potential employers expect an online presence, knowledge

6/26/2013

The size of an individual’s digital footprint might vary depending on the person’s age and comfort with new technology. People who don’t use social media might have fewer complications in life, but they also could be left behind in the job market. Why? Because in today’s job marketplace, an individual’s online presence — or lack thereof — can make a big difference on his or her employability.

Many employers expect current and potential employees — regardless of age — to have some practical knowledge of, as well as first-hand experience using, some aspect of social media. Whether a person uses LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, writing a blog, using the Internet or even texting, it demonstrates a potential employee’s ability to learn, adapt and keep up with the times. Some applicants might be surprised to find that their job application was disregarded because a potential employer was unable to find any digital activity by the individual — an indicator that the applicant is not familiar with new media.

The size of an individual’s digital footprint might vary depending on the person’s age and comfort with new technology. People who don’t use social media might have fewer complications in life, but they also could be left behind in the job market. Why? Because in today’s job marketplace, an individual’s online presence — or lack thereof — can make a big difference on his or her employability.

Many employers expect current and potential employees — regardless of age — to have some practical knowledge of, as well as first-hand experience using, some aspect of social media. Whether a person uses LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, writing a blog, using the Internet or even texting, it demonstrates a potential employee’s ability to learn, adapt and keep up with the times. Some applicants might be surprised to find that their job application was disregarded because a potential employer was unable to find any digital activity by the individual — an indicator that the applicant is not familiar with new media.

Why does it matter so much? Employers want employees who are comfortable online in a digital world, according to Jane Bryant Quinn, a personal finance expert, in a report in AARP Bulletin. That news might come as a shock to many employees older than 50 who believe their skillset and accomplishments should speak for themselves. Employers not only want to see evidence of a potential employee’s digital prowess, they want to see their photo and recommendations or endorsements from others too — all before an interview even has been scheduled.

A strong digital footprint has the potential to be the best first impression a job applicant can make with a potential employer. Doing it right the first time matters too since those footprints are permanent. Ensuring online profiles show a potential employee to be a good fit with an organization because of his or her solid communication skills, creative problem-solving skills, broad network and understanding of appropriate communication can go a long way toward an applicant getting his or her foot in the desired employer’s door.

Bottom line, employees at all levels need to cultivate a comfort level with digital media so they can be conversant and relevant to employers, coworkers and customers alike. A reluctance to embrace new technology and development of a digital footprint could mean the difference between securing a job interview and being overlooked.

 

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher

comments powered by Disqus