I’ve seen it all in my 20-plus years as an executive recruiter. So believe me when I tell you: prospective employers are going to Google you. And what they find will leave an impression that could either help or hurt your job search.
Whether carefully cultivated or left to chance, we all have what I call a “Personal Online Brand” (POB). Your POB represents an online snapshot of who you are professionally – your accomplishments, who you know, and your point of view. If you haven’t thought about how your POB stacks up, it might be time for a self-assessment.
All jobs are temporary, so no matter where you are in that cycle, your POB can both invite opportunity and mitigate risk. Job seekers typically dust off their resume only when considering a career move, but your online brand is something that needs to be developed and refined throughout your working years. A strong brand helps you get found and taken seriously when hiring managers or recruiters are looking for candidates. For those actively seeking new roles, it supports the message you are trying to convey about yourself, your expertise, and the value you can deliver.
If you’re not sure what your POB says about you, Google yourself and take a look through fresh eyes. The online world is transparent, so the consistency of your message should be carried across LinkedIn, other social networks, and your online presence as a whole.
Here are a few tips for building a brand that sells your No. 1 asset – yourself:
1. Recharge your LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn page is the foundation of your personal brand. If it’s been a while since you set up your profile, give it a once-over. Your profile picture is your calling card and should be recent, approachable, and appropriate for the job you want, not the job you have. Your summary is, perhaps, your most important piece of content marketing, so take the time to tell your story beyond your job titles. Bring to life why your skills matter and the difference they make.
2. Grow your network.
Sync your LinkedIn profiles with your email address book so the platform will suggest potential connections, and get into the habit of following up conversions and meetings with LinkedIn connection requests. In order to have contacts when you really need them, your job is to network for your next job while you have a job.
3. Endorse and recommend others.
LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations substantiate your skills and increase your credibility. Go through your network and identify connections who genuinely deserve your endorsement. People will often return the favor. Relevance matters, so try to connect with people whose support you most value.
4. Showcase your thought-leadership.
Position yourself as an expert and thought leader by posting blogs, white papers, case studies and even marketing collateral you’ve produced on your social media. These highlight your point of view and help you stand out from the crowd.
5. Share relevant content
Finally, don’t focus solely on the number of connections but rather on playing an active role in your network. Sharing relevant content and making insightful comments are key to raising your profile and demonstrating your passion.
We’re all busy doing our jobs and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, so it can feel self-centered to spend time building an online brand. But it’s there – whether you take charge of it or not – so it’s worth the investment in yourself to cultivate a POB that invites opportunity.