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Asking for a Friend: How Important is Your Online Presence in Job Hunting?

Social, professional, and digital footprint.
H. Michael Burgett
Contributing Writer

Dear Mike:

With the job market being as competitive as it is, I’ve been wondering about how my online presence might affect the recruitment process. I’ve heard mixed things from friends and online forums—some say it’s crucial, while others believe it’s just one of many factors.

Can you shed some light on how important an online profile really is for someone looking to get hired?

How do recruiters use this information, and is there anything specific they look for?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts,



Dear Chuck,

You’ve touched on a topic that has become increasingly relevant. The importance of an online presence in the recruitment process cannot be overstated.

First off, a strong online presence can significantly boost your visibility to potential employers. Recruiters actively use social media platforms like LinkedIn, not just to post jobs, but to search for and evaluate candidates. A well-crafted LinkedIn profile, for instance, can serve as a dynamic resume showcasing your experience, skills, and professional accomplishments.

It’s not just about having a profile; it’s about how you present yourself. Highlighting your professional achievements, sharing articles related to your field, and engaging with content from others in your industry can position you as a knowledgeable and active participant in your professional community.

However, it’s not just LinkedIn that matters. Your overall digital footprint—be it your contributions to professional forums, your public social media profiles, or even a personal blog—can provide insights into your personality, work ethic, and interests. Recruiters often look for consistency and professionalism across platforms. They might also appreciate seeing a well-rounded candidate who participates in community service, has diverse interests, or demonstrates creativity through personal projects.

That said, it’s crucial to manage your online presence responsibly. Inappropriate content, controversial opinions, or unprofessional behavior displayed online can deter potential employers. It’s a good practice to periodically review your social media profiles through the lens of a prospective employer and adjust your privacy settings accordingly.

Here’s some actionable advice:

  1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile: Ensure it’s complete, up-to-date, and includes keywords relevant to your industry. Recommendations from colleagues or supervisors can also add credibility.
  2. Create Content: Consider writing articles or sharing insights related to your field. This can help establish you as a thought leader and get you noticed.
  3. Engage Professionally: Participate in discussions, join industry groups, and network with professionals in your field. Your interactions can leave a positive impression on potential employers.
  4. Audit Your Online Presence: Google yourself regularly to see what comes up and address any content that might not reflect well on you professionally.

In essence, your online presence is a multifaceted tool in your job search arsenal. Used wisely, it can open doors and present opportunities that might otherwise remain hidden.

Hope that helps!



TNCR Community – what advice would you add to this thread? Do you have a perspective that you can share? Have a career question for Mike? Email him directly at

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