YOUR ONLINE PERSONA
Based on their online persona, many great workers have gained or lost an opportunity. Follow these tips to strengthen and define your online persona:
Develop Your Brand
Purpose – Clarify your professional goals first. Are you looking to stay in a similar position? Move up to management? Make a total career change? Write out your goals and establish a one-sentence mission statement to refer back to when you are creating or updating your profiles. This mission statement IS your brand.
Content – Whether your audience is artistic or conservative, be sure the content you write for and on your profile is well written. Post status updates often, and keep in mind public perception before you post.
Format – Pay attention to the layouts of each platform and what information is shown. For the most part, you have control over which fields, job titles, or photos are shown- so be sure to only display items that you wish to get noticed.
Spelling and grammar – This is incredibly important. If you want someone to take you seriously, be sure your spelling and grammar are correct. There is no faster way to be eliminated.
Gracefully decline positions you’re not interested in – Many recruiters will reach out to you with positions you may not be interested in. This is the blessing and the curse of possessing skills in high demand. Always gracefully decline these positions, as the worst thing to do is burn a bridge. If nothing else, you can say: “Thank you for your interest in my professional experience, however I am not currently interested. I will let you know if my situation should change.”
Check Your Security!
If you don’t have your social media profiles on lock-down, potential employers will be able to see everything you post, for better or for worse. Review the security settings for each, and make changes as necessary to control what the public can see. Also, keep in mind security setting options do change periodically so it would be in your best interest to review your security settings on a regular basis.
Always, always, always have a profile photo. Even if you are camera shy, having a photo makes your profile 11x more likely to be looked at by a recruiter. It shows that you’re a real person, an active user, and will likely respond to requests or inquiries from other users.
LinkedIn is a “living resume” site where you showcase your professional experience, connect with companies, groups and professionals. If you sign up for just one social networking site, LinkedIn should be it. Here are some key pointers about personal branding on LinkedIn:
~Write an attention grabbing headline. Edit it to best describe your expertise or to let people know you’re looking for new opportunities
~Make sure your summary clearly defines your expertise.
~If you have one, be sure to add a link to your personal website under your profile summary. This can be used to showcase your skills and portfolio.
~Tailor your LinkedIn profile to showcase the most relevant positions.
~Share articles and post about topics most relevant to your experience and the type of opportunity you are looking for. This information will show up in your connections’ feeds and could potentially grab the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter[/expand]
Twitter lets you be as clever as you want in few words. It’s a great way to connect with people and groups in your industry. How can you brand yourself with limited characters?
~Refrain from using an embarrassing twitter handle. Either use your name, the name of your personal website, or something that is essential to who you are.
~Fill out your profile completely: put your real name, location (if it’s important to you) and personal website URL.
~Write a killer bio that describes who you are and what you re interested in.
~Just like LinkedIn, share articles and post about topics most relevant to opportunities you are looking for. By staying up to date on new trends and simply re-tweeting interesting articles, you can position yourself as an expert in your field. Shared information will show up in your connections’ feeds and hopefully get the attention of potential employers.
~Working on an interesting project or hobby related to the world of IT? Tweet about it. The key to personal branding is to let others know about your skills, experiences and passions.
Facebook is one of the first social sites where employers go to see what you’re like outside of work. Create and share status updates, events, and photos. While Facebook is very likely intertwined with both your personal and professional lives, you can definitely step up your game in personal branding. Here’s how:
~Fill out your Facebook profile. Adding your work history and education allows potential employers and recruiters to see your professional background.
~Add your personal website and other relevant social media to your contact information.
~Follow companies that interest you so you can stay up to date on their activity, check out jobs they are hiring for and learn about any events they may be hosting or attending.
~Join user groups and follow professional associations. Many will post about upcoming networking events and speakers you may be interested in.