According to author Dan Schawbel, personal branding “is about unearthing what is true and unique about you and then communicating that, through various mediums, to the right people.” By creating an online personal brand, you will control what people find out about you online and recruiters will find you faster. Before you begin building your personal brand, it is important to cleanup any digital dirt. Privatize your Facebook and be sure to manage the tagging of photos.
Synchronize your social media – make sure your public profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter tell the same story. You need to know what recruiters will find if they Google you, because 89% of them will. It is recommended that you Google yourself weekly, but at least monthly. I Googled myself recently, and because I have been working on my online personal brand for years, the first thing that came up was my LinkedIn profile. The next thing that comes up is a YouTube video where I was on a local television show talking about the job seeking group that I run, and then a link to the Facebook fan page that I set up to like organizations that I would like to work for. My Twitter profile shows next, and then this blog on job search strategies. Before I started this quest, if I Googled myself, I came up with Classmate.com and other sites. Be sure to use a private browsing tab (InPrivate on Explorer or Incognito on Chrome) so that you can get a true picture of what the recruiter will see. If you simply open a new tab, your Google search will be related to your cookies and your Google accounts.
In this job market, it is necessary to be found professionally online, especially on LinkedIn. With 93% of recruiters looking at your profile in LinkedIn, you need to be on LinkedIn, and have a complete profile to be considered for a job. Many recruiters that I have spoken to told me that they will not consider a candidate if they are not on LinkedIn. And if that does not convince you to join, try these statistics: there are over 200 million members in over 200 countries on LinkedIn, and over 2.7 million different companies. David Perry and Kevin Dolin, Co-Creators of The Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters said this about LinkedIn profiles: “Your profile on LinkedIn is your first job interview – if employers don’t like what they see, you won’t hear from them again. Is your LinkedIn profile the best it can be? If you’re not on LinkedIn and looking good you don’t exist to most employers.”
Here are some tips to get noticed online:
- Use a professional head-shot photo – Studies indicate that profiles with professional head-shots are far more likely to get clicked on than those without.
- Complete your profile on LinkedIn – Having a complete profile, free of spelling and grammar error and rich with industry keywords and accomplishment based bullets of your experience, will help get you noticed. Complete the summary, experience, education and skills section, and if applicable, the special sections, volunteer work, projects, languages, etc. You can also include a link to your video resume, a copy of a PowerPoint presentation you created and much more.
- Obtain quality recommendations – The recommendation section can be very powerful branding tool, if you seek quality over quantity in recommendation requests. One quality recommendation from a former supervisor with specific details of your excellent past performance is much stronger than five recommendations from former co-workers.
- Endorsements – There has been some controversy over this section, as it seems too easy for people to endorse connections for random skills. This section, however, can also be viewed as personal branding tool. If one of my connections has been endorsed the most for project management by 35 of their connections, with all other skills endorse by less connections, than project management is a true strength for this individual.
- Groups – By joining industry relevant groups, and taking part in conversations, you can enhance your reputation as an expert in your field, as well as build potential relationships. I connected with a few very strategic connections through a local industry specific LinkedIn group and through this group, I have become known as very knowledgeable in the field of career development.
- Status updates – By sharing with your network industry specific news, blogs you have written, and networking events; your network will remember and share news and leads with you. It is recommended that you share status updates a few times a day, but if you are new to this, start with a few times a week.
- Customize your headline – Include a future-based, skill based or value added headline. Do not use – Unemployed, Boston College Student, or Underwriter at Unum. This is your chance to load the headline with keywords that will help you get found and convince a recruiter to click through to your profile.
- Customize your LinkedIn url – This is customizable in the edit section of your profile. Doing so will give you an easy url to add to your resume, your email signature line, and business cards, and will ultimately help drive traffic to your profile. If you have an uncommon, like I do, then this will be easy. If your name is common, then you many have to add your middle name or get creative.
- Facebook – As I mentioned before, set your personal Facebook account to private. You can then create a fan page for yourself, and create a professional profile, and then ‘like’ the companies you are following with your fan page. This page will come up in a Google search, and the result will be you will control the content that recruiters see.
- Twitter – Twitter is proving to be very important to online personal branding, as well as job searching in general. With Twitter, it is easier to connect with hiring managers. Additionally, some jobs are only advertised through Twitter. For more info, I would suggest the book The Twitter Job Search Guide by Susan Whitcomb.
Please share with me any ways you have found to enhance your personal online brand.