It isn’t just corportions that have brands or online identities, individuals in the job marketplace have brands, too. Everything you post online, every social media page your create and every Web site you launch goes into creating that brand. If you don’t believe me, Google your own name sometime and see what appears. That’s what potential employers are seeing when they go online to learn more about you. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, or if you’re not seeing much, perhaps it’s time to spruce up your online brand.
What is your online brand?
Just like with corporate brands, your online brand tells potential employers a little about you. Are you flashy or shy, a book enthusiast (because you post on Good Reads) or a fishing fan (because you frequent a fishing forum)? Do you post thoughtful comments about things relevant to your field or are all of your social media posts about your dog or last night’s dinner (or worse.) Your brand is the accumulation of everything you’ve ever written online.
Ways to improve your online brand
If your online brand isn’t what you’d like it to be, don’t despair. Start today refreshing your online image. First, resolve to never again post anything on a public forum that you’d be embarrassed to have a potential employer see. Next, create a profile on LinkedIn (the social media site for professional networking) or update your profile if you haven’t used the site in a while. While you’re there, invite a few people you know and respect in your industry to link with you. (Most people, even acquaintances, will say yes.)
Thirdly, seek out interesting, thought-provoking articles about issues in your industry and leave a well-written comment using your full name. Such comments will come up in a Google search. Remember that Google loves new content, so make sure to do this regularly throughout your job search. (This also means that your older, less flattering posts will be less visible as time goes on.)
Today’s job search isn’t just about having a stellar resume and job history. Job applicants today need to pay attention to their online brand. It could make the difference between hearing “hired” or “no thank you.”