How to Use Online Experience to Boost Your Resume

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Studies have shown that participating in online forums can have many positive personal and professional effects, but can it put your resume at the top of a recruiter’s pile? Check out this guide to making your online experience work for you.
Like many other humans, I find myself spending seemingly endless hours browsing the internet.  Whether it be in the constant pursuit of fresh content or commenting on a recent article, I have a lot of hours invested on this medium, usually without much reward.  The question is, how do we take this investment, quantify it, and leverage it to convince hiring managers that we are a great candidate for future positions?

Hiring managers use potential employee’s internet presence as an indication of their personality and compatibility.  We should all know to keep our social profiles scrubbed during a job hunt, but the truth is that they’re digging deeper than your latest pic on Instagram.  Prospective employees should always try to present the best elements of what they have to offer to their potential employer, by leaving positive examples of their character in every online interaction that they have. Here are some tips for making your online presence work for you.

Showcase your skills by putting them to work online.


If you are searching for a job, the ball is in your court to make sure that you are keeping the skills listed on your resume sharp, which can be tricky if you’re struggling to find work.  A good way to get extra experience is by volunteering your expertise. Look for  organizations who may need technical help, and donate your time. This could range anywhere from helping to clean up the UI of a local volunteer organization’s website or providing IT support in times of need, to answering someone’s nagging excel question.This is both a good way to showcase your skill by having a body of work to reference, and a chance to participate in a program that you care about. Experience and philanthropy? A resume win-win if ever there was one.

Don’t just lurk, participate!

Participating in online forums may seem like a major time waster, but contributing in the right places will help you to further your communication skills and gain notoriety within your industry. Q&A forums allow you to not only put your knowledge to use by answering questions that other people need help with, but also work on concise and effective written communication. Depending on the site, you can then use this history of providing answers as a powerful asset in a job hunt.  These forums can also serve as a networking tool that may lead you to a job opportunity by putting you in touch with someone who could use a mind like yours in their company. The possibilities for career advancement are not limitless, but they are bountiful. The nice part about this approach is that you will not have to leave the comfort of your home.  You’re online anyway, and you may as well use all those points you have earned on online forums to help land you a job.

Be a professional, not a troll.

When posting any information or comments online it is important to remember that anyone can see your activity.  If you plan on solidifying an application with evidence from your work online, make sure that your history is spotless. This means that your conduct online should not be out of line with how you would act in a face-to-face interaction. An effort to conduct yourself in genial manner will definitely show through in positive way to prospective employers.

When a recruiter sees that your online profiles are stocked with accolades and positive reviews, it’s an indication that you are doing something right. Your participation proves that you are knowledgeable in a particular area and other people have recognized you for it. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. On the flip side, having a blank profile doesn’t do anything for you. A hiring manager’s first impression of you may be through one of your online profiles, so be sure to make them robust and accurate. Spend some time writing a succinct bio, and don’t forget to update your experience. Many sites these days allow you to import your LinkedIn profile so that you only have to update in once place, but don’t forget to spot check for formatting errors. While avatars can be fun, uploading a professional profile photo is much more personal and will help recruiters make a stronger connection between your various profiles. You are in control of your own image online, so portray yourself positively.

While on the job hunt it is important to remember that your resume will most likely not be the only thing that a hiring manager will comb through. Opportunities to showcase your work are ever present online, so take advantage and present yourself professionally. By participating and volunteering your time you will demonstrate that you have a willingness to help and educate others who lack your particular set of skills, as well as keeping your own skills razor sharp.
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