Proof of Performance: Career Portfolios an Emerging Trend for Both Active and Passive Job-Seekers, Part 1

Having an Online Presence

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., and Katharine Hansen Ph.D.

[Part 1 of 7 of Career Portfolios: Proof of Performance]

One of the hot topics in job-hunting relates to the degree to which recruiters and human-resource professionals are “googling” prospective candidates. The point of this exercise (using whatever search engine they wish, though “googling” has become an accepted term for this practice) is to see what kind of information is available online about the job-seeker.

According to a recent study by ExecuNet, three out of four recruiters conduct Internet searches on candidates — and one in four has dropped candidates based on the results of the search. “Smart hiring managers will always Google their prospective people,” says Allison Hemming, president of the Hired Guns, a New York interim-staffing company, in an article on

So, we asked recruiters and career professionals in the focus groups about the importance of having an online presence. Most of our participants described it as an emerging trend that is not yet in widespread use — except, perhaps, for higher-level positions (where one would expect to find more documentation of work experience, but where the stakes are also higher).

“I have not actually googled a candidate; however, I would do so now. I would be looking for corroboration of information in the portfolio and resume, if possible,” stated a former college career-services professional. “News articles can be helpful, as well as information about the current employer.”

If a job-seeker is working to develop an online presence, it’s critical also to remove sensitive or potentially damaging information from the Web. “Negative components could be Web pages that are ‘too personal’ and/or unprofessional,” a focus-group participant and former college career-services professional notes.

A professional resume writer in the focus group states, “I believe the importance of an online presence for job-seekers parallels the importance of an online presence for companies 10 years ago, when the Web was first gaining traction. In time, as with Web sites for companies, an online presence will be second nature to job-seekers — like a resume, but better as it continues to promote the 24/7, and can provide more and better information than the traditional constraints of a paper resume allow.”

“If you don’t have an identity on the Web, you don’t exist,” stated Ross Mayfield, CEO of Socialtext, an enterprise social software company, in an article published in NewsFactor Network.


Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.

Katharine Hansen, PhD, Creative Director Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at) Founder Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of He is also founder of and He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)

Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of The Quintessential Careers Content Index, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, quizzes, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.