Personal Branding

Hiring professionals are turning to social networks to source and vet candidates.

What’s your plan for updating your online presence and building the right online resume which compels recruiters to call you?

Here are 6 steps to building an online presence:

1) Take a base line:

Go ahead and search for your name using Google, Bing and Yahoo!

Are you satisfied with the first page of results? Do the results speak to your expertise or the skills/abilities you want to be known for?

This isn’t a once-and-done activity. Monitor the first page search results for your name every couple of months, especially if you are actively job seeking.

2) Prove your communication skills:

If want to be recognized as an excellent communicator, it is time to demonstrate this skill.

Start blogging about trends in your field or things that interest you. Your topic doesn’t have to relate to your ideal occupation (but it is a good idea). You could blog about sports, cooking, or other interests you are knowledgeable about and it will become a sample of your work. In order to help people see how great of a writer you are, share your blog posts on your Facebook page, as a LinkedIn profile update and be sure to share on Google+ too!

3) Visually represent your talent:

Graphic artists and photographers know they must have an online portfolio for their work. Do you have one too? One way to begin is by capturing online references to your work such as awards, newsletter contributions, or newspaper mentions. You can even immortalize a major milestone on social media. Take a screen shot of that moment you cross over 500 connections on LinkedIn, your group discussion becomes most popular or your status update receives an amazing number of shares. You can use Evernote’s Skitch, the tool on your computer or even from your mobile device. Embed the screen shots into your LinkedIn profile, in a blog post, or share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as a status update. Remember to tag images with your name and key words.

Video is another hot way to capture special moments. Shoot and share video or create a video montage using Animoto or a similar online video maker. YouTube is great for hosting video, but what if you are shooting video from your phone and want to upload it quickly? Vine and Instagram are two mobile apps to help make shooting and sharing faster and easier.

If you aren’t comfortable in front of the camera, why not record a podcast and share your knowledge and expertise that way. You may want to check out Spreaker or BlogTalkRadio. Both allow you to record and easily share links to your recording! If you are trying to demonstrate  strong presentation or verbal communication skills, this is just one more way to provide proof.

4) Host your own show:

You don’t need to rent a studio to create a show.

There are free and low-cost tools that enable you to record video – why not try hosting a Google Hangout and invite your network? All you need is a Google+ account. This is another way for you to prove you have ‘excellent communication skills’ and subject matter expertise.

RELATED: Top 5 Podcasts For Tech and Social Recruiting

5) Spread it around:

A word of warning. If you invest all your time and energy mastering only one social network, what happens when traffic plummets, it becomes accessible only through paid membership, or the service is acquired and goes away altogether? You don’t know what the future holds. Nor are you reaching your full potential audience.

You don’t want to miss the next big social network wave and being an early adopter means there is less competition, therefore it is easier to be perceived as a big fish in a small pond! This is what makes the world of social media and technology so exciting. Don’t get left behind or worse, lose your audience, community and friends.

6) Regularly share consistent quality:

There are three basic guidelines you want to keep in mind when embarking on brand building activities. The first is to be consistent. Use the same name and similar avatar across social networks. When sharing anything online, be sure you use the appropriate key words, your name or other terms you want to be associated with. Your key words are unique to you and could include your occupation, skills, or other words that people would search for if they were looking for someone like you. Make sure you consider how search engines find your name.

The second is to never sacrifice quality. When you are writing, always double check your work to ensure it reflects your best effort. However, don’t let perfection get in your way of delivering. Practice and improve upon your work and the content you share.

Third and finally, regularly update and share your consistent, high-quality content. You can’t expect instant results. Building an audience of followers, fans and friends takes time. With some regularity, either hourly, daily, weekly or monthly, share and deliver value. Don’t feel you have to develop all the content you share yourself. You can share inspiring quotes, links to news articles relevant to your field, or a humorous video to lighten the mood. Just be sure to attribute the work to its original source.

Don’t wait until you need it:

You’ve heard similar warnings about building a valuable professional network. The same holds true for your online presence. Build content and your following while you have the confidence and security of a job. Don’t wait until the crisis of a layoff to begin a mad dash PR campaign.


About Hannah Morgan

Hannah Morgan provides no-nonsense help for new job seekers. She provides advice and serves as a guide to traverse the treacherous terrain of today's economy by focusing on pro-active strategies for job search and leveraging social networks. Career Sherpa is one of many outlets where Hannah shares her information. Follow Hannah on Twitter @careersherpa!

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