Creating and managing a branded online identity is important to your career. In today’s world where professionals are responsible for managing their own career path, it’s important to proactively manage your own marketing strategy and online identity. Every mention of your name online contributes to your online identity and your brand.
Today, recruiters and employers expect to find you online. “More than 80% of executive recruiters said they routinely use search engines to learn more about candidates,” according to a 2007 survey by ExecuNet. Online identity management means ensuring that when a recruiter, prospective employer or other professional Google’s your name, that your name will appear in the top rankings with a branded profile that presents you professionally.
Using social media sites and blogs, you can competitively position yourself in the marketplace so that you’ll be found by corporate recruiters, executive search firms and other executives.
The quickest, easiest and least expensive way to establish an online presence is by setting up an account (no cost) and creating a profile on a few of the social media sites. There are more than 350 social networking sites targeted to different demographics and each site is trying to uniquely position themselves. While some social networking sites include job boards and facilitate networking as part of the job search process, most do not. This is not to say that those who do not focus on job search networking should be excluded from your online presence and job search strategy.
Networking is important for many aspects of your professional career whether it be identifying critical partners, strategic alliances or vendors for the company in which you are currently employed, or for maintaining a high profile, subject-matter-expert status in your industry, or for your current job search activities.
Soon after you establish a presence on some of the social media websites listed below, your name will begin to appear in the Google search rankings. In fact, I recommend that you Google yourself before you set up an account and then Google yourself again in three or four days after you set up the account so you can see the difference.
Recruiters are leveraging social media sites to source, screen and recruit candidates. They like these venues because it gives them access to passive candidates (those not looking for a job) and hard-to-find candidates (subject matter experts and technical people buried deep within the functional levels of a company). Today, with the social media sites they can easily find these candidates. Recruiters also like these sites because the information is frequently more accurate than the contact lists they can purchase because candidates are posting and updating their own information on a regular basis.
Establish and Manage Your Online Presence by Setting Up an Account and Completing a Profile on Several of These Leading Sites.
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com
LinkedIn is particularly effective for senior-level executives. LinkedIn considers itself a professional networking community and they are continually providing more resources to help candidates and recruiters connect. More than 300,000 recruiters are members of LinkedIn and they are using LinkedIn heavily for sourcing and recruiting.
With over 35 million members in more than 170 industries from around the globe, LinkedIn has captured the professional social networking market. LinkedIn allows you to search for jobs using Simply|Hired, a job search aggregation site with thousands of positions aggregated from thousands of job boards and sites. The beauty of LinkedIn’s job search tool is that you can view the profile of the recruiter who posted the position. LinkedIn will display how you are connected to that recruiter. LinkedIn even suggests that to improve your chances of getting an interview, you should contact the person in your network that knows the recruiter and request a referral. LinkedIn will even step you through the process with suggested scripts.
Ziggs – www.ziggs.com
With over 3 million profiles on professionals, Ziggs considers themselves a one-stop site for creating and managing your online brand. They have a job board and offer top visibility in search engines enabling you to be found by recruiters.
ZoomInfo – http://www.zoominfo.com
ZoomInfo is a business information search engine, with profiles on more than 45 million professionals and 5 million companies. ZoomInfo delivers information on industries, companies, people, products, services and jobs. ZoomInfo does not include a job board and searches require a fee-based membership. However, posting a profile will help you get found in search engines.
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/
With more than 175 million active users, Facebook is the 4th most-trafficked website in the world. Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. Facebook does not include a job board/search function.
Twitter – http://twitter.com/
With over 5 million users, Twitter is a site for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? Social media networkers use Twitter to keep friends up to date on their happenings on frequent basis. Twitter does not include a job board/search function.
Xing – http://www.xing.com/
A global business network with 7 million business professionals using Xing to do business and promote their career. The largest European business networking site, Xing features a personal page for a profile, an address book, groups, and message system. Xing does not include a job board/search function.
Plaxo – http://plaxo.com/
Plaxo securely hosts address books for more than 40 million people. Plaxo is a dashboard for seeing what the people you know are creating and sharing all over the open web. You can hook your Plaxo account up to all the places where you create or share stuff (your blog, Flickr, Twitter, Yelp, and more than 30 other sites).
Establish and Manage Your Online Presence by Creating a Blog
To get on the radar screen of recruiters and executive search consultants, consider publishing a blog focused on your area of expertise. A blog is a way to build credibility, demonstrate expertise, and position you as a thought leader. You can write about emerging trends, industry events, ongoing research or projects, new products and issues. You can also include white papers or articles you have written, your resume and bio, an audio presentation or podcast, a link to your web site or web portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and other social media profiles.
There are several services that will host a your blog. Some are free and some charge a small licensing fee. Two free sites include:
Google – www.blogger.com/start and
Blogates – http://www.blogates.com/
For a modest fee, you can create a blog hosted by:
TypePad – www.typepad.com and
WordPress – http://www.wordpress.com/
Each site has a wizard to step you through the set-up process.
You will need to publish regular posts and respond to comments and questions from people posting to your blog.
Sample blogs published by job seekers include: