How to Use Online Profiles to Find a Better Construction Job
Take control of your online reputation and become an online profile hero.
At Design & Construct we're always looking for the best people in the construction industry.
The top construction, engineering and design firms in the world come to us to help them find great workers that will improve their business. As a result, we go through quite a few resumes and online profiles in our search.
This experience has taught us what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to finding the best people. A few details here and there can mean the difference between getting your dream job and remaining on the hunt for something better.
General Overview: Online Profiles and Online Reputations
Much has changed in the last decade regarding professional life.
It used to be that a person's professional life and personal life where separated. We had a reputation in the professional world and another one in our private lives.
This aspect of life changed, as the Internet became a regular part of every day life. The change accelerated even more around the mid-2000s as social networks and online profile websites became another phenomenon on the Web.
Today, nearly all Internet users have at least one public profile. It could be a profile on Facebook to visit and stay in touch with friends or it could be an account on LinkedIn where you publish basic professional information.
The challenge for professionals today is to maintain a high level of professionalism online. The line between personal and professional life is very gray. One would hope that prospective employers would view us only in a professional light, but with so much at stake these employers are looking at every piece of information available.
If you're in the market for a new job in the construction industry then we're here to help. We've worked with a number of firms in the construction industry. We know what they are looking for and we know how to find the best of the best in the construction industry.
LinkedIn: 5 Tips For A Great Profile
LinkedIn has become the new resume. You won't find all the best people in the construction industry on LinkedIn, but you will find really great professionals.
Having a profile on LinkedIn shows that a prospective employee is knowledgeable about the Internet. They understand the importance of maintaining an online reputation. They show at least a little commitment to connecting with others to build a strong professional network.
Tip #1: Write a descriptive job title. Don't get cute with your job title either. Don't call yourself a “number cruncher” or a “guy that draws”. Also, don't get overzealous with the descriptive words. You think you're an “experienced marketer”? What else would you be? You don't need to say you're experienced. Employers look past the description to your real experience anyway. Create an accurate description that is truthful and easy to find via search on LinkedIn.
Tip #2: Write about accomplishments in your summary. The most important part of your LinkedIn profile is the summary. This is the first in depth portion of your profile that employers will read. Write about your accomplishments. You can tell you story starting with your education and professional experiences. A story gives readers a chance to learn what you've accomplished. Also talk about specific results that your current and past employers have experienced. Give yourself enough credit, but don't overdo the summary. Be honest in your self-assessment.
Tip #3: For the experience section of your professional life, go back about 15 years. That's a long time in today's business world. It's a market where what you've done lately matters most. Your employer will be curious how you've developed and they'll also want to see what you've worked on. Be honest and leave a short description of the company and what you did during your tenure.
Tip #4: Get past the 500-connection plateau. Currently, LinkedIn shows new visitors to your profile how many connections you have up to 500. If you have over 500 they'll show it as 500+ connections. This may seem insignificant, but people do look at your connections. It's a quick way to gauge how “important” you might be. If you have only 10 connections versus 500+ the employer may leave you off the short list.
Tip #5: Participate on LinkedIn. Make it a habit to contribute about one item per day at minimum to LinkedIn. This could be sharing a blog post, commenting on another person's update or contributing to a group discussion. If you're active in helping others it's a very good sign to the employer that you're willing to help them with their problem.
Facebook: Make Your Profile Professional
Facebook is the most popular social network or profile website in the world with over 1 billion registered accounts. Chances are you have an account.
The trouble with Facebook is that the default settings make much of your profile visible to the public (including employers).
Now, no one is accusing you of having inappropriate content on your Facebook site, but take a second to think about what you've posted on Facebook in the last few years.
Would you want a potential employer to see it all?
The best way to approach Facebook is to make your profile professional. Delete anything that could be considered a reason for a potential employer to not hire you. Put in the basic information about who you are and what you do and where you live (not your exact address).
You can still use Facebook to interact with friends. After all, that's what Facebook is really for and employers know and respect this fact.
It's simply a fact of life today that if something on your Facebook account rubs an HR executive the wrong way that they may not hire you. Keep that in mind when posting something.
Another option is to make your profile private and only visible by your friends. This route will require you to be careful who your friends are because word can still get around if you have a certain reputation on Facebook that differs from your professional reputation.
Twitter: Show Your Knowledge and Character
Twitter is a great tool for getting news and for sharing updates. Many professionals have seen opportunity arise as a result of participating on Twitter.
Follow the best sources you know to get up-to-the-second information about what's happening. It could be a source that provides general, local or world news. It could be an industry professional that keeps you on top of things in your professional industry. It could be someone that entertains you.
Also show that you can contribute to the discussion on Twitter. Employers are now looking beyond the traditional work experience. They're looking for people that show the initiative to go beyond the typical job description.
This means that by participating on Twitter by sharing links, replying to messages and staying up-to-date with the latest information is important. Being active on sites like Twitter show employers that you understand technology and that you want to improve as a person.
That's a big one for employers. If you show a willingness to learn and improve the employer will know that they are not only getting a great employee now, but also one that will improve over time.
Pinterest and Instagram: Show Your Personality
Pinterest and Instagram are kind of the “fun” profiles of the online profile world. The networks are very visual in nature. On Pinterest, users pin their favorite images from all over the Web. They create specific boards for specific topics.
If you're a visual person you can use Pinterest to showcase your style and your personality. Employers want the person on the resume, but they also know they'll be working with you for a lot of hours during the week. If you show them your personality they'll be better able to understand if you're a good fit for the company culture.
Be yourself on Pinterest and other similar sites. If a company understands the real you and they feel you're a good fit for their culture it will work out well for you because you'll be in a good situation to succeed on a professional and personal level.
Instagram is a photo sharing application. You can take photos and share them with the world. It's really easy to use your smartphone to both take the photos and to share them.
Again, use Instagram to show your personality, but don't share anything that would make an employer cringe. You want to keep it fun and professional.
Expert Level: Personal Website
Employers today realize that nearly everyone will have a few online profiles. LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter are regular profiles that all candidates will likely have.
To stand out as someone that's different and a better candidate for a job you can go beyond the normal and create your own personal website.
It can be as simple as creating a single page website that acts as your online resume. It will cost you less than hundred dollars to get it setup with a basic domain, shared hosting and a free website template.
Having your own website will show employers that you value your online reputation and that you're serious about the online world in general.
Also, having your own website will give you control over your online information. Remember, employers will google your name when you get on their radar. If you have your own website you'll show up at the top of the results.
In the construction industry (or any industry), employers are doing their research online. For jobs at every level of a particular company the business wants the best person for the job.
You can improve your odds of getting hired by controlling your online profiles. Follow the advice in the article to take control of your online reputation.
Create quality profiles and you'll find yourself on the radar of the best companies.
It could lead to your dream job.