One major mistake I see architecture and design job candidates making today is underestimating the impact of their online presence. There are generally two attitudes, and neither one is very good good. Some candidates are very concerned about hiding their online footprint. They take pride in being invisible so that none of their personal updates and information can hurt their chances of being hired. On the other hand, I have met many candidates who, though not invisible, fail nevertheless to fully leverage their profiles, networks, and content creation online.
While it is certainly very smart to be careful of what you do and post online, it is not a good idea to be invisible, since you run the risk being overlooked by serious recruiters and employers.
Today, the prevailing belief is that your online presence will predict your ability and behavior at work regardless of how talented or experienced you are or how polished your performance is during the job interview. Your social proof online is used to confirm that you are who you say you are, and it can help to distinguish you from all the other candidates competing for the same position. Realize also that it is much easier for a busy recruiter or hiring manager to quickly assess your hiring potential with an online search.
This dynamic is happening in not just in just in the realm of Architecture and Design, but in countless industries across the board. In fact, according to LinkedIn:
- 70% of employers have rejected a candidate because of information they found out about that person online.
On the other hand:
- 85% of employers say that a positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions.
The Four Essential Elements of Good Online Visibility
For candidates working in architecture and design there are four areas to focus on:
- Optimized online profiles. I’m starting here because this is often the first thing that recruiters and hiring managers see. Whenever you open an online account for social media or any online community, you have to create a user profile. Take full advantage of it. Make it easy for people to find out who you are, what strengths and experiences you have, and how you can be contacted. Where possible connect your profiles to a portfolio of your design work or any other notable contributions you have made to the community.
- A portfolio of your work. A digital portfolio is fast becoming an industry standard. You want to create a carefully selected collection of featured projects and other work samples that are well developed and documented and are easily accessible to employers. You can also link it to an online version of your CV. Doing this can be of great value since it gives hiring firms a first impression of your abilities, style, and interests.
- Communities. If you want recruiters to notice you and hiring firms to take you seriously, then you should make an effort to actively participate in the online communities and groups where you will be most visible to them and their contacts. This can include professional LinkedIn groups, or any good blogs and online magazines dedicated to architecture and design.
- Content creation. Any content that you create online, like the digital version of your portfolio mentioned above, gives recruiters and hiring managers a taste of your personality, abilities, and experiences. Content creation can take many forms including: posts on a personal website, videos, comments made in forums or on articles, and contributions to online publications and websites focused on the architecture and design industry.
Bottom line: when it comes to your online presence you have to strike a balance between covering your tracks and showing hiring firms that you seriously have what it takes to get the job done.