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The New Job-Hunting Checklist

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By Jillian Johnson, Creator of GoDaddy Grads Group

The first thing most recent grads are told about the real world is the importance of building a solid resume. Traditional hiring methods are not the same anymore, and just as job-seekers rely on different mediums to investigate potential jobs and companies, hiring managers take the same holistic approach when evaluating candidates. We've been conditioned to bolster our resume, rather than thinking about different approaches to presenting ourselves; but as hiring trends change, the job seeker must adapt. These days, it takes much more than a good resume to land a dream job - and now there's an even better way to stand out amongst the crowd.

As creator of GoDaddy Grads, an employee resource group focused on bridging the gap from college to the real world, I have been committed to helping grads make the transition from school to the working world, combining practical and actionable lessons with an emphasis on having fun. Through this group, grads can build a social community, develop professional relationships, and attend relevant learning events. We also open it to GoDaddy interns to participate in while working across different GoDaddy offices. Through my work with these grads and interns, I've learned a lot about the ever-changing hiring world.

Today, many jobs come through networking and in fact, some jobs are headhunted for before even released into the wild world of job sites. In order to stand out to recruiters and headhunters, a solid online presence should be used as a standard tool to expand upon values, interests and skills outside of a traditional resume.

It's often the little things that end up getting you the job, a nice touch like an interviewer noticing how you greet the receptionist at the front door. Similarly, your online presence provides an opportunity to let your experience, personality, and uniqueness shine. Online presence is the new age word of mouth: by doing some "digging" into social media, LinkedIn and online portfolios, hiring managers get an early look at a candidate to see if they're willing to take a risk on a new grad.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for the job search that reflect the changing nature of hiring today:

1. Create a website: I know the first thing I look for in a candidate I'm talking to is whether they have an online presence. I love when a candidate has their own website, because it gives me a glimpse into who they are as a person. I get to see work that they're proud of, how they describe themselves, and better understand the kind of work they hope to do. A website gives each candidate the opportunity to own a personal brand online and design individual look, feel, and tone of their online presence vs. having personality reside within the confines of social media.

Often, a traditional resume displays only experiences during college and internships, but these experiences are not usually directly relevant to a job. If you look at it from a hiring manager's perspective, hiring someone with no industry relevant work experience could be considered a "risk." But by having a controlled portfolio, you have a proactive opportunity to set the tone and allow hiring managers to feel more confident about your hire. You want them to believe that the reward of hiring a fresh, excited, passionate, malleable candidate would outweigh the potential risk and time requirement to empower and train them for a role.

Creating an online presence can help minimize this risk felt by companies through demonstrating personality in ways that a traditional resume can't. A website can help outline your experience and interests to potential employers and may even help you discover your passion along the way. Plus, building a website provides you the opportunity to create a professional email address other than your current Gmail address for recruiters to contact you, adding credibility.

For tips on how to create your first website, check out this article on fundamentals.

2. Show your personality through social: We've all heard the horror stories of candidates not getting job offers due to poorly managed social profiles, and while I'd like to say they're false, you should definitely think twice before posting that picture from your frat initiation night. Along with making sure your social profiles are "safe" for employers, it's important to use them to your advantage and ensure your personality and interests shine through in a positive light.

Now more than ever, employers turn to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram to determine fit for a company. Each social platform lets a candidate express themselves in a unique way, giving employers a full picture of personality and intangible traits each candidate might bring to the company.

Showing your genuine interest in the field you hope to work in - retweeting industry-relevant articles and engaging in dialogue around key industry topics - lets employers know that you're serious and a stand-out among the competition.

3. Network!: Employers find candidates through alumni databases, networking events, through friends of friends, referrals from past colleagues, etc. more so than through applications that come in through the standard company job application process. Although it may seem finding that dream job is all about increasing your odds and stacking the numbers in your favor, you're better off with a more thoughtful, personal approach. There's a higher chance of being hired for a position if you're a referral from your network. If someone is willing to attach their name to yours and "vouch" for your ability to meet a certain standard, that's not only great for your future career but a testament to the relationships and hard work that you've committed.

Job websites like LinkedIn or Indeed can help you discover what types of jobs are out there, but ultimately, your connections and network will take you further than applying via those websites will. Sometimes, jobs available at a company (especially at startups) are available but not yet posted, and having a solid network will help you become aware of these open opportunities. The number of hiring managers using social media to find candidates has skyrocketed: according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates, up from 11 percent in 2006.

And having an online presence can make your networking even more fruitful; by owning your name as your domain name and putting SEO tools to use, you can send people you've networked with straight to your website rather than leaving them to sift through social profiles.

The quest to perfect your online, social, and networking presence does not end after getting your first job. Leveraging all of the assets above in different ways will prove useful throughout your career: websites will help you show off your portfolio and other projects, social sites can help demonstrate personality and cultural fit, and networking will help you gain trusted people in your network willing to vouch for you and give you that stamp of approval when it's most needed.

Once you've settled in at your new workplace, continue learning how to enhance your online presence, building your personal brand, and seeking ways to grow your network. And one last piece of advice: never stop learning from inspiring individuals a few steps ahead in their careers. For me, I find inspiration in hearing titans of industries tell stories of how they started, but take the time to find whatever speaks to you. You never know where your next job opportunity might come from!

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