How to Build a Digital Presence as a Job Seeker—And What NOT to do

Today’s savvy job seekers have more to show than their resumes and cover letters — some have work samples or portfolios, others have websites or digital hubs, and many have social media accounts to boost their personal brand.

If you don’t already have a strong digital presence, or if your digital footprint needs some work, try these tips to show off your work and get an employer’s attention.

Digital Presence

1.  Create a Digital Presence

Whether you like it or not, we live in a digital age, and one of the worst impressions you can make on a recruiter or employer is if you’re a ghost online. The number of employers researching candidates on social media has ticked up significantly in recent years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. If you don’t have some of the basic ones (including LinkedIn and Twitter), create and manage new ones that show off your professional side.

2.  Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts

If you already have an online presence but your last post was weeks or months or years ago, it’s time for an update. One of the most important things you can do is to give your profile(s) a quick refresh by updating your bio, title and job responsibilities so potential employers have access to your current skills and capabilities. In addition to ensuring that all your information is up to date, go into incognito mode on a search engine and do some digging into all your accounts to see if there are older posts that may be inappropriate. Remember, if you’re in incognito mode or you’re not logged into your accounts, that means any content you see is also visible to recruiters or hiring managers.

3.  Do Not Post Online Without a Filter

And we don’t mean an Instagram filter. It’s always a good policy to use your best judgment and discernment prior to posting anything online. In some cases, it may even behoove you to sit on it overnight before dashing something off. Before you post anything online — even if it’s seemingly insignificant like a comment or reply — ask yourself this question: Would this make a potential recruiter or hiring manager want to hire me more or less? Hard as it may be, keep any potentially controversial opinions or stances private. You can show off your personality while still being respectful and professional.

4.  Show Off Your Work

Have you published blogs or articles? Have you designed websites or apps? Don’t be shy about showing off anything tangible you’ve created to potential employers. Oftentimes designers create portfolios to showcase their artwork — but what about the rest of us? If it’s hard to quantify or tangibly show the result of your hard work, find other ways to describe and share the work you’re doing and the impact you’re making in the workplace and beyond.

5.  Educate Your Audience Online

Share links to reputable articles, research and trends about your industry. Show that you’re not just good at what you do, but that you’re a big-picture thinker and are always finding ways to move your industry forward. If you’re attending a workshop or conference, blog or tweet or post a recap of what you’ve learned — and don’t forget to tag the conference speakers and organizers — it will only serve to boost your digital footprint.

Deanna Hartley is a prolific writer and editor, having spent the past decade publishing hundreds of print and digital bylines on topics including job search advice, career development, recruitment, HR and human capital management that speak to both job seekers as well as employers/recruiters. Deanna has a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, is a former senior editor at award-winning publisher Human Capital Media in Chicago, and currently works as a senior copywriter at CareerBuilder. Her articles providing career advice have appeared in a variety of publications, including Gannett’s network of newspapers, Business Insider and Workforce Magazine. A proud female millennial immigrant, Deanna understands the importance and privilege of securing meaningful employment in the U.S. — and hopes, through her work, she can help others do the same.

Search for your next job now:


Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market