“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”
~ Neil Gaiman
There’s a job out there you want. You meet all of the qualifications. You know you can do it.
Unfortunately, you also know that there are plenty of other job seekers who can do the job, too.
So how do you show potential employers they should hire you? How do you show them what makes you different from the other job seekers?
You create an online persona.
With unlimited space and fewer restrictions than a cover letter, you can use your online persona to “show, not tell” potential employers what makes you qualified.
According to Pressible:
“In today’s social media landscape, how hard should you work to create a squeaky-clean Online Persona? Job recruiting experts consistently urge their readers to manage their online identities because, according to a survey done by Reppler in 2011, over 90% of recruiting managers visit potential candidates’ social media presence before hiring and, more alarmingly, 69% of recruiters say they’ve passed on potential job candidates based on a negative social media presence.”
No, the days of email resumes aren’t over, but it’s not too early to jump on the bandwagon and put your professional self online.
In fact, your resume is only a baby step towards getting your foot in the door for an interview. 80% of employers go straight to Google to learn about you and decide if you’re worth meeting.
The good news is that potential employers are looking for your positive qualities.
- strong communication skills.
- a strong worth ethic.
- a strong sense of professionalism.
You may be surprised by how easy it is to lead employers to evidence that you possess these qualities and how much control you have over the information they find.
Here are six steps to creating an online persona that will boost your professional reputation and help you land the job of your dreams:
1. Clean Up Your Digital Dirt
Everyone has a life, and for many of us, our lives are documented on social media.
Which, during a job search, can be okay. If a potential employer sees an image of you playing soccer with your kids, skiing, or sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris, it’s no big deal. Pictures like that might even give an employer a better sense of who you are and help them gauge how you might fit into their company culture.
But anyone who uses social media, or has friends who use social media, has photos out there that aren’t helpful during a job search.
Social media sites aren’t the only places your “digital dirt” may appear, so you may have to do some digging.
But don’t worry. There are steps you can take to control how you appear online.
Before starting your job search:
- Go through all of your photos and photos you’re tagged in. You may need to remove tags or ask friends to remove photos. (This matters more than you might think. According to a survey of hiring managers and HR professionals, 50% of employers discount a candidate after seeing their inappropriate photos.)
- Keep track of your comments and comments your friends leave on social media sites, blogs, etc. as well as any mentions. A tool like IFTTT can help with that. Make sure your comment alerts are on and working. (If you’re new to IFTTT, learn more here.)
- Set up a Google Alert with your name to keep track of what people are saying about you and stay notified about what information about you is being added to the web.
- Google yourself while signed our of your email accounts or by going incognito to see what others see when they Google you.
2. Participate in Professional Groups and Forums
Show the world how much knowledge you have about your field and how much you care about your work.
Joining LinkedIn groups and other groups related to your profession helps you connect with others while adding to your professional persona.
According to Luci Baldwin, IPC Media resourcing and recruitment manager,
“Evidence of involvement in community activities, a presence on a business network such as LinkedIn, and anything to demonstrate good communication skills are key attributes we look for.”
Imagine a potential employer googling you and coming across your brilliant answer to a question on a professional forum.
As an added bonus, participating in professional groups and forums gives you the opportunity to show off how well you communicate, which is definitely something employers want.
3. Use Online Graphic Design Tools to Create Professional, Branded Images
Once your website and social media profiles are ready to be seen by your future employer, use a graphics tool like Canva to create professional cover photos, headers, slideshows and infographics.
Even better, create a brand for yourself by keeping the colors and fonts consistent through every image you create. You might even try creating a logo:
4. Build a Digital Resume
Though traditional resumes are still in use and will be for a while, the popularity of digital resumes is on the rise.
Creating a digital resume will add to your professional image and help you stand out from the crowd.
As an added bonus, having a digital resume out there increases the possibility that potential employers will find you.
Not sure where to start? Use these tips and tools as a guide.
But don’t get carried away. Even if you’re a designer, don’t give into the temptation to spice up your resume with fancy fonts and graphics.
5. Create a Website / Blog
Even with an active social media presence, having a personal website during your job search is definitely a plus.
A website allows you to showcase your work and projects and provides a personal touch that makes you memorable.
If you don’t know how to create a website from scratch, there are plenty of tools that will guide you through the process.
If you’re feeling ambitious, look into using Google Analytics to keep track of who’s viewing your site.
Stay tuned! WiseStamp will soon be offering a tool that will help you with this.
6. Create a Professional Email Signature
Once your online persona is solid, show it off!
Besides looking great, an email signature will lead potential employers right to the articles, posts, and social media profiles you want them to see.
Your signature should include:
- your name.
- your profession / title.
- a professional photo or logo.
- your phone number.
- a link to your LinkedIn profile.
- a link to your website and / or blog.
Your signature should not include:
- your mailing address.
- your email address.
- images or quotes that take away from your professional image.
For more on email signatures, read WiseStamp’s How to Create the Perfect, Socially Savvy Email Signature.
After building your online persona, you’ll be amazed at how focused, self-aware, professional and confident you feel.
We wish you the best of luck finding the perfect job that nobody else can do the way you can!
Has an online persona helped you find the job of your dreams? Are you in the midst of a job search? Leave a comment and share your experience.