When it comes to the job hunt, make your online presence ‘kickalicious’

Lisa Katz| Crain’s Detroit Blog

So what do you do when you have no experience but you want to find a job? The Lions’ new kicker, Havard Rugland (a.k.a. ‘Kickalicious’) shares an important lesson: show what you’ve got using the means at your disposal, even if you have never done the job before and live halfway around the world.

Granted, the 28-year-old Norwegian, who had never played American football, was not necessarily looking for a job as a professional athlete when he made a video for friends, capturing an impressive compilation of kick shots he made with a football. But in the eyes of more than 2,100 hiring managers and human resource professionals, he did all the right things to land a seat at the table.

A nationwide Harris Interactive survey (commissioned by CareerBuilder and conducted from February to March 2013) found that 39 percent of companies use social networking sites to conduct research on job candidates. Other surveys, including one conducted late last year by Bullhorn of 1,848 staffing professionals, found that more than 98 percent used some form of social media when hunting for candidates. (The difference in the findings may be that one emphasized doing research on candidates versus simply using social media when searching for them.)

In both cases the trends were up compared with last year’s studies — more employers are using the internet each year to fill their ranks.

When it comes to this process, the research also showed that employers like some sites more than others. For example, they cannot seem to get enough of LinkedIn. Of the Bullhorn respondents, 97.3 percent said they used this site as a recruiting tool, compared with 51.3 percent who use Facebook, 45.8 percent Twitter, 19.1 percent Google Plus, and 3.6 percent Pinterest.

Now, there was no mention of YouTube, but if you have mad employability skills that you can showcase through visual effects, it is a good move to put your best foot forward. Regional tech employers frequently urge potential programmers, for example, to show an application they have developed or a website they have built.

Most of the time, employers are trying to weed candidates out versus screen them in when they go online, but 19 percent from the Harris Interactive study said they found something that actually caused them to hire a candidate.

If you are looking for a job, word to the wise: do not post something on any social media site that you would not want your grandmother to see. (That goes for friends too, who may not realize that an embarrassing moment, good-naturedly shared online, could pose problems for your career prospects.)

And if you have examples of materials, products, achievements or other things that can help you stand out from the crowd — even if they relate simply to hobbies or your personal interests — share them. Employers want well-rounded, skilled candidates who will fit into their organizational culture. Rugland never imagined what his entertaining YouTube video would yield, but I am sure that, retrospectively, he would share this advice: when it comes to your job hunt, make your online presence “kickalicious.”

You never know what an employer might find in you, and they will never know unless you share.


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