Looking for a job and how employers make hiring decisions has changed significantly over the last decade.
It’s no longer just about that great resume you wrote. It’s about understanding and controlling the message of your online presence, which increasingly defines who you are.
For job seekers, developing a reputable online presence is critical. While those handpicked references at the end of your resume may still carry some weight, they are now being weighed against the increasingly reliable, crowd-sourced information from the online world.
What does your Google search say about you?
Creating an Employable Online Presence
Defining Your Personal Brand
Personal branding is just like it sounds. It is you consciously deciding on a controlled message about yourself, your values, experiences, and interests, and then applying that uniformly in everything you do.
Personal branding has been mainstream idea since for over a decade in the business world, and there are volumes of resources on how to create and define you as a brand.
As a job seeker, defining your personal brand not only defines who you are for others, but it is a great exercise in personal reflection as well. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find it’s time for a career change.
If you have a personal brand, revisit it. People change. Does your brand still represent you?
Carve out your online space and apply your brand
Let’s cover the basics right away: You should have a Linkedin and a Twitter account.
Why? Because there is a good chance your potential employer has these accounts. Being less tech savvy than a company you want to work for never looks good.
Additionally, multiple accounts cover your bases for companies that may have one, but not the other. When you begin your job search, many companies advertise position openings on these networks as well, so it’s best to be where the employers are.
As I will discuss later, having multiple accounts also allows you to improve your search engine ranking, presence, and increase your personal influence by allowing you to reach more people on different platforms.
But no matter how many social media accounts you decide to be present on, it’s best to have a home page where you can connect all of your online activity in one unified place.
While a blog service, or a personal webpage with a custom URL (yourname.com) are common ways to have a central location, other services such as Flavors.me
have appeared in the last couple years and make it easy to build a custom page that reflects you and showcases your online presence. Flavors.me also allows you to forward a URL to their site, so you can keep your custom domain name.
Control Your Search Results
What good is the personal brand you’ve created if no one can find it?
You can bet that potential employers will search for you online at one point or another, so those search results count. This is where having all those social media accounts linked together helps bring you up in search rank.
, which is the act of linking your multiple account pages together (Twitter, Linkedin, Your Blog, Etc.) will show search engines like Google that your profiles are not stand alone accounts, but a small influential network, which will ultimately bring your sites up towards the top of searches as activity grows in that network.
Create Content to Get Noticed
It’s estimated that only 5% of online user actually create content online, while the other 95% consumes it.
Show employers that you’re unique and stand out from the crowd. Write and share your professional interests and show that you’re passionate about your industry, and not just another person looking for a paycheck.
Quick Twitter posts and discussion groups on Linkedin are a great way to not only create better visibility for yourself, but can allow you to showcase your industry knowledge. You never know who may read and be impressed by your insights or comments.
Start While You Are Still Employed
Building an online brand and presence no doubt takes time and energy. It is not a one-evening project, and requires constant redefining and shaping.
So the most important thing you can do is to start working on it now. An empty Twitter account or a half complete Linkedin page is easy to spot and reflect poorly on your brand.
Put the time in now building your base, and when it comes time to look for a job, you can spend your time utilizing your brand and established networks to get quickly back to work.
Next month I’ll continue this piece by talking about how to digitize your online and offline resume to stand out, and to leverage your online presence and networks to connect to employers and get hired.