You have your résumé in perfect balance and your cover letters are immaculate. You’ve joined LinkedIn, Indeed.com and CareerBuilder. By some act of God, you find enough time in your day to apply for just enough jobs to make you feel productive. Are you seeing the fruits of your labor yet?
Even if all your preparations are impeccable, there are some hidden demons that might undo all your hard work. With all your documentation ready, it’s time to review your internet-self. Who do people see when they read your name?
In my opinion, everyone needs to spend sometime as their own internet stalker. In a best case scenario, you would know every single appearance of your name even if you have to go through 10 pages of Google search results to find it all. That said, with a résumé and cover letter prepared, you should be applying for jobs right now. I recommend you do this step simultaneously, but prioritize the application process. If, after a few weeks of effort, you are getting little reaction to your résumé, then your internet stalking needs to take over priority.
Start easy. Think about every website you ever became a member of since the day you were born. Track them down and see if you can still log in. If it’s an account you no longer use, delete it. After you delete an account, use Google to attempt to find what you just removed. Ideally, you won’t find anything. If you still see a profile you want deleted, consider contacting the site to have it removed. In order to be in complete control of your internet image, you don’t want to have any information out there you can’t control.
There will be many sites, especially social media sites, that you still want to keep. Make a point to activate the strongest security measures on those sites. Go through all of your posts (every single one) and get rid of anything you don’t want an employer to associate with you. Hopefully, you will never have to do this again. Once you have removed anything you stupidly posted during high school and college, any future post should be in line with what you want people to know about you.
Now, you need to launch yourself into the creepiest of creepy stalker territory. Google you name in all the different forms it may appear. Search with and without quotations and see if there is anything out there about you that you weren’t aware of. For example, when I searched my name, I found a log from a fencing tournament in college. I also found my name in a PDF document related to a speech performance in high school. These are all harmless and I let them be. You might not be as lucky as I was. There is a chance you could find something out there you don’t want to be associated with. You need to find out if that exist and take every step possible to have it removed.
Googleing your name will have different results depending on your name. My name is unique. People often misspell both my first and last name even after being told the correct spelling a million times. I have ordered food over the phone where I repeated the spelling of my name 3 or more times and my name was still spelled wrong on the receipt. This works to my benefit. When I search my name, I can almost guarantee the first 5 pages of Google will all relate to me. If your name is more common, use quotation marks and play with the search engine to see if you can generate results that are all about you.
With that out-of-the-way, you are officially ready to apply to every job out there.
My Secret to Finding a Job Before Deferment Ends
I maintained a savings account through college and made a point to add money to it every month. With those funds there to support me, I cut my work hours in half. Even though I was out of college, I choose to only work part-time (20-25 hours a week) so I could spend the other half of the day applying for jobs. I made a plan for when, where and how long I would spend applying for jobs, and then I went for it. This is what it looked like:
6:00 AM: Wake up and eat breakfast. Maybe shower real quick, especially if I smell funny.
6:45 AM: Hop on my bike
7:00 AM: Arrive at the library and apply for any and every job that has anything at all to do with writing.
12:00 PM: Hop on my bike
12:15 PM: Work
Somewhere between 5:00 PM and 8:00PM: Hop on my bike
8:15 PM: Take a long shower
8:45 PM: Free Play! Weee!
I did this every day without exception and averaged 10 submitted applications each day. I heard back from about 10 percent of those companies and snagged an interview with 1 percent. Of those interviews, one turned into a **job. By job, I mean I got a three-month paid internship in the city of my dreams. While working at that job, I continued to apply to other jobs. Since I now lived in the area I wanted to work, I noticed an increase in response to my job applications. Without that internship, I wouldn’t have the job I have today.
Make your job search a priority over your current job (if you have one), and you will have the best chance at finding something.
**I had followed this schedule for two weeks when I was offered the internship.
Disclaimer: I am not a job or career expert. Most of the above is based off of my own experience and the advice I've given to friends and family. I write these posts because I noticed my advice made a difference for those that took it and I hope that you can too. If possible, I highly recommend taking some for of career preparation class. A lot of this information is based on what I learned through the Career Leadership Academy at the University of Iowa and it was a huge benefit to my job search after graduation.