One’s online presence is an essential part of your personal brand. Recruiters, employers, coworkers, potential clients, and friends may head to the internet to find out more about you. What will they find? With a few clicks of the key board, they can find any number of things about you. Your goal is to make sure that what they discover is the information that brands you the way you desire to be seen by the Internet. You control your brand, good or bad.
Three Potential Problems with Your Online Identity
Take a minute to Calculate Your Online Identity. Once you’ve done that, come back here. This post will make a whole lot more sense if you have done this simple, but valuable exercise.
Go to: Calculate Your Online Identity.
Question #1: Is your online presence nonexistent?
Are you invisible as far as the internet seeker is concerned? Do you exist? If you are one of those people who when your name is typed into the Google search bar, there is nothing that appears, you have some work to do. This is one part to your Career Portfolio and an essential ingredient to your successful job search…you must have an online presence!
There are a few places I will urge you to begin your personal online branding. The websites listed below are listed in the order of importance, so if you only pick one, make it LinkedIn.com. But what you will find out is that once you have created an impressive LinkedIn profile, you now have the content for all the other sites also. A little cut and pasting and you can brand yourself online in a matter of hours. Best of all….they are all FREE!
- LinkedIn.com – This is a professional networking site. Think of it as the Facebook for professionals. Here you will create a profile with your experiences and skills. Once that is complete, you will begin connecting and networking with other professionals. Currently, LinkedIn.com is one of the premiere places online, where recruiters search out potential candidates. Your LinkedIn.com profile will make it easier to find you, while also helping you to develop connections with people who can get your resume noticed. With a little skill, you can even get your resume right into the hiring manager’s hands, and not lost in the online application black-hole. If you are serious about building your personal brand, LinkedIn.com is your first best step.
- Google Profile – A Google Profile is the 2nd place you should begin branding your online presence. It makes sense. If someone is going to search for you, it is very likely they are going to use Google to do it. By creating a Google Profile, you help to make sure the information you want others to see, is some of the first information they discover. Unlike, LinkedIn.com, the Google Profile isn’t for networking, rather it is a static page of yourself. I would recommend you create a short Bio or Summary of yourself and your accomplishments, then create a hyperlink to your other profile on LinkedIn.
- VisualCV.com– VisualCV.com is as the name implies. This site allows you to create a living, breathing, ever-growing online resume. What’s unique and impressive about this site, is the ability to include samples of your work, charts, graphs, audio, video, and images to help make your resume stand out. The site also provides you a unique URL, you can send to potential employers. I include a link to mine in my email signature, so when I correspond with business, they are able learn more about me, but visiting my VisualCV online. This profile allows you a platform to include all those things you wish you could include on your regular resume, but can’t due to space limitations.
The creation of a profile on LinkedIn.com, Google Profiles, and VisualCV.com will help building your personal online brand, which will help you avoid the problem of being invisible.
Question #2: Is your online presence incomplete?
An incomplete or incorrect online presence is as damaging, if not more, than having no online presence at all. Does your profile have the current listing of your job title and accomplishments, or is the information from two years ago? Keep your profile current. Don’t allow it to grow stale. Any time you pick up a new skill, or make a significant contribution to your team or company, update your online profile. You personal brand should communicate growth, improvement, accomplishments, and progress. You communicate that by keeping the profiles fresh and exciting.
Question #3: Is your online presence inappropriate?
Inappropriate content circulating around the Internet, has been the reason of many missed opportunities and the ruin of many careers. Many stories are told of the employer doing a Google search before an interview or internship, only to find a picture of a drunken college student in an unprofessional situation. Those pictures that seemed so fun at the time, can quickly become the end to so many opportunities. Poor decisions made in one’s past can become permanently circulating the internet for many years to come.
Think before you post something on Facebook. Be sure and set your privacy setting properly to protect your very personal life from the eyes of potential employers or customers. Better yet, if you wouldn’t show it to your employer, don’t post it. Consider carefully if that picture is worth a lifetime of worry?
These 3 Questions, coupled with your strategic and immediate action, can have you on the right track to building a professional online presence to which you are proud. Take the time now and put the extra effort in to build your professional and personal online brand. Here’s your chance to control how the world sees you. Don’t allow your big chance to slip through your fingers because you didn’t make every effort to develop your brand. Tell the world who you are and give them something to which you are proud.
For those interested, I have provided links to my LinkedIn.com, Google, and VisualCV.com profiles. Yours doesn’t have to look like mine. You are unique. However, they may help give some inspiration in the creation of your unique online presence.