This will not be another article along the lines of “Please hide your freshmen party pics on Facebook before you apply for a job”. Don’t get me wrong, that’s important, but when you are looking to start a career it’s a pretty basic requirement. There are plenty of things that you can do online that ensure you will NOT get hired - and there are plenty of articles already covering that.  

Instead, let’s focus on some of the small tweaks to your online self that will help you stand out positively in the recruitment process (even when you’re not a digital wizard).  

1. Kill the buzzwords in your profile headline and say what you want

LinkedIn recently released its report on the most overused buzzwords on professional online profiles. Turns out, everybody is a specialist, a leader and passionate. The words are so common now, they have lost all meaning for hiring managers.

Instead of trying to squeeze in yet another meaningless descriptive into your career objectives, focus on saying what kind of job opportunity you are looking for - the more specific you can be the better.  

But how?

Lose the adjectives, focus on who you actually are and what you are looking for.

Turn “Passionate, creative marketing rockstar” into a “Marketing graduate looking for an entry position in SEO and SEM

Instead of being a “Dynamic self-starter with digital ambitions”, be a “Business student looking to expand knowledge in digital consulting”.    

2. Check your grammar, spelling, and wording. All. The. Time.

Despite video live stream and voice recognition software being on the rise, most of our digital communication is still text-based - whether you are using a search engine to look for jobs, emailing HR departments to enquire about an open position, or chatting with a recruiter at a virtual career fair.

And even though the rules of proper spelling have been relaxed a bit in the digital sphere, good spelling and grammar are part of the first impression you make online. You wouldn't believe how common it is for recruiters to receive an application that is riddled with mistakes - so being the one with a flawless writing style will definitely help you stand out in a unique way.  

But how?

True, you cannot employ an army of native speakers to proofread every piece of your written communication. (Still, ask a native speaker if it’s about a cover letter or resume.)

However, you can get the next best thing: an online spellcheck plugin for your browser. Either use the standard spellcheck of the browser or download a tool like Grammarly for English or an equivalent for the language you are using the most.  

For longer texts, you can also use the Hemingway App to check how readable your texts are.

3. Find a way to showcase your relevant skills

It’s nice that you have those progress bars for your skills on your CV, but if you really want to highlight what you can do there is almost always a better online tool to do so.

But how?

Show, don’t tell! Think about what skill you are most confident about and look for online media that will help demonstrate it most effectively.

Among developers, it’s common to show your coding skills to future potential employers by sending them a link to your GitHub profile.

You can pretty much find a digital platform for any skill that you want to prove you have.   

Your presentation skills? Upload a Youtube video of your elevator pitch! (There is an option to ‘unlist’ a video so that only people with the link can view it.)

Your creative writing or language skills? Include a link to a blog post you have written! (On Medium, for example, you don’t have to maintain a whole blog in order to post an article once in awhile.)

Your numerical skills? Share your path to solving a problem by putting an Excel sheet in a Dropbox file.