Just as companies need to maintain their public image and protect their brand, so too should anyone with a career in tech – or any industry, for that matter.
âYour online identity is a form of capital, just like your intellectual capital and your financial capital. To that end, it can be developed slowly and steadily over time, which will eventually produce the positive results you want, âsays Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.
Technology has changed the way people find jobs, and it has become easier than ever for hiring managers and recruiters to seek out the best talent, rather than waiting for them to submit a resume, according to Myers. This means that the job of your dreams could easily reach your inbox, but that’s only true if recruiters and hiring managers can actually find you. By taking the time to carefully craft your identity and brand online, Myers says you’ll set yourself apart as a “smart, tech-savvy self-marketer.” It offers six critical steps in building your brand online, so you can put your professional best foot forward and create the career you want.
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Register a domain
An important first step in building your online career brand is to register a domain in your name. Meyers says it’s a great way to build your portfolio and identify yourself as an expert in your field. Plus, having a personal website makes it much easier to find in a quick Google search. You may need to get creative if you have a common name, but you will find that a personal website will help you distinguish your cover letter or CV from other applicants.
âThat says you have a voice and a presence, and you have something unique to offer. It sends the message that any client or employer who will work with you will be very lucky,â Myers explains.
And if the idea of ââbuilding a website sounds daunting, don’t worry, it’s actually easier than ever. There are many platforms that will walk you through the process of creating a visually impressive and easy to navigate website for your career portfolio.
Establish credibility with a blog
You can include it in your website or host it on a separate platform, but Meyers suggests that if you want to build recognition in your field, you should start a blog. You can choose to write down your thoughts on industry trends or use it as a way to document your accomplishments. Maybe you want to include testimonials from your hard work or from clients to help demonstrate your expertise in the field.
âWhat employers want are thought leaders and experts. They need problem solvers and solution providers. A strong career identity, when managed properly, sets you apart in such a way that employers start suing you instead of you having to chase them, âMyers explains.
Building credibility in this way helps inform employers that you are not only an accomplished self-marketer with a strong grasp of technological trends, but it also shows that you are confident in your knowledge and skills in the industry.
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Create an online CV
If you haven’t yet migrated your resume to an online platform, it might be time to consider using a platform like LinkedIn. LinkedIn has built-in features that walk you through the process of presenting your accolades, skills, education, and expertise in a user-friendly format. If you want to get a bit more complex, Myers says you can also include your resume on your business website instead.
And if you’re worried that your employer will see you active on networks like LinkedIn, Myers tells you not to worry. He notes that, perhaps in 2005, an employee might be considered disloyal for doing this or might even have been fired, but that in recent years that attitude has changed.
âFive or ten years later, employers understood and accepted the idea that every working professional would have a LinkedIn profile,â he says. It’s just another example of how career trends have changed over the past decade as technology becomes a mainstay in our personal and professional lives.
According to Myers, networking isn’t optional if you want to have a successful long-term career. âIf you don’t breathe, you die. If you don’t network, your career dies, âhe says.
And luckily, networking is easier than ever with technology – you can follow your colleagues, former classmates, and industry leaders on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Leveraging these tools for networking is a great way to build your brand online to make you an even more marketable candidate. Not only can you use these platforms to stay in touch with your current network, but they are also valuable resources for expanding your network, Myers explains.
âOptimizing your online identity positions you for networking success because it allows you to be pre-known, pre-trusted and pre-loved. Which means your one-on-one networking meetings will be much more productive and profitable, âhe says. .
There is one major caveat to putting your professional brand online – and that is to keep it, well, professional. Remember that anything you do on a public platform can be seen by anyone, so it’s important to think twice about what you share and who you connect with, especially if your profiles are open to the public.
Some things Myers says to avoid include being mean to your employer, coworkers, or clients, or looking for a new job during working hours on a public account. He also says that if you guess something you’re about to post, trust your gut and hit delete. Also, avoid posting anything that might cast doubt on the credibility of your industry, and remember to leave political, moral, or religious posts for your private social media accounts.
It may seem counterintuitive to follow you online, but Myers says maintaining your image online is essential. Myers suggests setting up a Google alert that will notify you whenever your name appears on the Internet; this way you can keep an eye on everything that is written about you or even about your business if you are a business owner. This gives you more control over your public image and allows you to ensure that anything that pops up when someone searches for your name will stay true to your personal brand.
âTo optimize your online identity, the key is to create and maintain a consistent, positive, and compelling message about who you are and what you do professionally. Anything that disrupts or distracts from this effort should be avoided,â Myers says.