[SURVEY] Why Your Prestigious University Degree May Not Count

[SURVEY] Why Your Prestigious University Degree May Not Count

You are putting away your graduation cap. You have four years of hard work, countless extracurricular activities and contacts made under you belt. You are ready to take on the world.

Or… are you?

A decade ago, a college degree was all you needed to get a job. Today, however, a college degree will get you an interview. Maybe.

With an ever-rising number of people majoring in the similar areas, with similar skills and ambitions, a college degree is just a prerequisite. Whether you will get a job or not depends on a number of different factors; number one being your ability to stand out.

But to stop guessing what it really takes to get a job these days and what the recruiters are looking for in potential candidates, we decided to conduct a survey among 300 HR professionals that have a prominent role in their respective departments.

HR professionals don’t do their job the same way as before. Blame technology.

Technology and the Internet are top trends impacting HR recruiters. Specifically, 79% of HR pros noted that technology development, use of online sites and increased availability of information is what influenced the way they conduct their job the most.

Why should you care?

70% of HR professionals report screening potential candidates before initial contact. Channels they use the most are social media and Google.

In fact, more than 40% of recruiters report that they are frequently using LinkedIn to screen potential candidates. When it comes to Facebook presence, one in five recruiters frequently reviews it. Most surprising data for us was that the vast majority of recruiters, almost 70%, very rarely screen candidate’s Twitter profiles.

LinkedIn, as the most frequently used channel for candidate screening, is after all, a little more than a glorified resume. Twitter, on the other hand, is still largely undervalued when it comes to using it for recruiting purposes. However, both recruiters and candidates are feeling the need for times to change.

Now is the time to start deliberately building your online brand and take control over the data one can find about you online.

If someone Googles you, they will definitely look for more than a college association. And they will Google you – about a quarter of recruiters frequently evaluate candidate’s online presence on Google while almost half do it at least sometimes.

Don’t Let Your Social Media Account Cost You a Job

61% of those surveyed say that they use online content to identify “red flags” with candidates. Our survey shows that content that can be found on our social sites has more of a role in jeopardizing our candidacy than enhancing it.

This is the content that can eliminate you from the race:

– Risqué photographs (71% HR pros would not consider the candidate)

– Negative comments about work in general (69%)

– Negative comments about a current or former employer (66%)

– Inappropriate language/cursing (65%)

– Pictures of partying including alcohol consumption (60%)

It is no wonder. Content most often found on our social media accounts is something we have little control over. Unless you set up your privacy settings perfectly, you have no control over who tags you where or in which controversial situations you are (unwillingly) included in. Not to forget, what goes online stays online; no matter if it was shared in a moment of anger or not.

Learn more about the latest HR Recruiting Habits and Trends in our free ebook!

They only way to reclaim your online reputation is to make sure the places recruiters visit are the ones that paint you in the best of light. As Tony Conrad, CEO of About.me, advises you should not let recruiter feel the need to Google you. Use your job application or your email signature to point them to a personal website or a splash page that contains all the information they could be interested in.

Factors That Work To Your Advantage

When it comes to the information HR professionals appreciate seeing on your website, what stands out are:

– Job skills, evaluates as influential by 98% of HR professionals

– Industry experience, 97%

– Job-related experience or internships (96,70%)

– Resume, 96%

– References, 71%

Survey shows that these five factors beat a degree from a prestigious college and GPA, which are evaluated as influential in 58% and 30% of cases respectively, anytime. It’s all about showcasing skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. High GPA and a degree on their own just won’t cut it.

Take control over your narrative

Future generations should start acquiring relevant professional skills the moment they start college (if not before) by using volunteering opportunities and pursuing summer internships, something that will equip them with real-life business skills.

Surprisingly, even though 4 in 10 HR professionals say that between two candidates they would contact the one with a personal website, not many use this leverage. Less than 1 in 100 candidates have a personal website, which presents a great opportunity for those who do have it to stand out.

Think back on all those experiences that shape who you are and that make you unique. Then, set up a personal website to feature them and enjoy the benefits.


Natasa Djukanovic

Natasa Djukanovic is Chief Marketing Officer of .ME Registry. Her interests include domain industry development, Internet governance, and virtual brand-building. Natasa is an occasional speaker at domain conferences and she was featured in Financial Times Business Diary.

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