Technology has come a long way, and now it does not only impacts the way you apply for jobs but also the way employers find you. Summarily, it’s time to take your online presence very seriously.
In the age of the internet, it is important to have an online presence where you can showcase your skills, experiences, and certifications. When you’re consistent across sites, using the same themes and photos, you will be able to create a strong personal – and professional – brand.
For college students who are especially interested in working in a certain industry, the time to start building your online presence is now. The hiring patterns of the past are now extinct and employers are no longer looking for first class graduates but thought leaders who can provide solutions to problems in the industry. If you start positioning yourself as such a person before you graduate, I can assure you, you’ll have jobs finding you instead of the other way around.
Whether you’re just looking for your first employment, or you’re trying to move up the career ladder, it is important to establish a strong online presence if you want to be reckoned with in your industry.
Below are some tips for building a strong online presence to boost your professional career.
8 Factors That Can Help You Build A Professional Career Online
1. Have A Personal Website
A nice step in building your online brand is to register a domain with your name. It’s a great way to build your portfolio and it says you have a voice. In the cyberspace, having your own domain is how you put yourself out there and show the world your identity. A personal domain also makes you easier to find through a google search. If you have a common name, you might have to get creative but you should be able to find something that fits the image you’re trying to project.
A personal website also sets you apart from other candidates, as you have something to show other than a cover letter and a resume, and projects the message that any client or employer would be very lucky to work with you.
And if the thought of creating a website seems daunting, don’t worry, it’s actually easier than ever now. There are plenty of tools and platforms out there that will guide you through the process to create a visually impressive and easy-to-navigate website for your career portfolio.
2. Blog – Thoughts, Ideas, Solutions
A blog is a tool you can use to establish credibility in any field, as long as you avoid plagiarism. A blog allows you to share your thoughts, ideas, and solutions on various issues within your industry and give your identity a voice. You can choose to integrate it into your website (the best option) or host it on a separate platform.
If you want to build recognition in your field, even if you’re still a college student, then a blog is an absolute must for you.You can choose to write about your thoughts on industry trends or use it as a way to document your accomplishments. You might even include testimonials from your hard work from clients and customers to help demonstrate your expertise in the field.
Creating credibility this way positions you as a thought-leader and problem-solver in the industry, putting you in a position where employers are chasing you with their jobs and you get to pick and choose.
3. Online Resume
If you don’t have an online resume yet, then you should consider creating one now if you’re serious about establishing yourself online. You can migrate your resume to an online platform like LinkedIn. LinkedIn has built-in features that guide you through the process of outlining your accolades, skills, education, and expertise in a reader-friendly format. If you want something a bit more complex, you might also include your resume on your professional website.
4. Social Media
Everyone is using social media these days, even 74-year-old grandpas. But have you considered what social media might do for your career or are you still uploading star-spangled videos of you singing and dancing?
It’s time to start taking advantage of the networking benefits offered by social media websites to further your professional reach and connect with industry leaders.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are must-haves for anyone seeking to build a professional career online. Separate your personal accounts from your professional accounts and always mind what you post. Ditch the cat videos, and post your thoughts about happenings and events in the industry. Tweet your blog posts and ideas, and retweet posts from industry leaders. Use LinkedIn to network with CEOs, recruiters, and employers. And remember, social media is for networking, not playing pranks. At least, professionally.
5. Embrace Quora
Quora is a popular Q&A site where people ask questions about virtually any topic in various fields and other people with experience in those fields supply answers. This puts you in a very good position to establish yourself as a knowledgeable person in your field by answering questions related to your field on Quora. So, embrace quora and other Q&A sites like it to further showcase your knowledge about your field and help people who need those answers. Two birds with one stone. Word of advice, do not brag about what you know, just provide answers.
6. Network online
This one goes without saying, you have to be constantly trying to meet new people in your industry and related ones, and creating lasting connections with them. Networking is not optional if you want to have a long-term, successful career. In the words of one career expert, “If you don’t breathe, you die. If you don’t network, your career dies”.
Lucky for you, networking is easier than ever thanks to technology — you can keep up with colleagues, old classmates and industry leaders on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Leveraging these tools for networking helps to bolster your online brand and make you an even more marketable candidate. Not only can you use these platforms to stay in touch with your current network, they’re also valuable resources for expanding your network.
7. Keep it professional
There’s just one caveat though — keep it professional. Remember everything you do on a public platform can be seen by everyone so think twice before posting anything, and if you ever have second thoughts just press the delete button.
Get a handle on your privacy options to help you separate your personal and professional accounts and remember to always keep all moral, political and religious post on your personal accounts.
Like my friend would say, “ If you wouldn’t be proud to have it printed on a billboard with your name and face beside it, then don’t post it online”.
8. Track yourself
While this may sound counterintuitive, it is actually a great way to monitor your online presence. Setting up a Google Alert will notify you anytime your name pops up on the internet; that way you can keep close tabs on anything that is written about you or even your company if you’re a business owner. This gives you more control over your public image and lets you ensure everything that comes up when someone searches your name will remain in line with your personal brand.
That’s all for now. Remember to like and share.