These days, the most effective way to find a job may be to attract employers to you. How can you do that? By creating and maintaining public profiles on these five powerful websites.
The payoff for you will be substantial and long-term.
The good news is that these sites are free for you to use, currently. The bad news is that this will take some time and work to create and to manage. But much of what you create for one site (LinkedIn, for example) can be modified for the other sites.
In addition, these efforts will pay off for you when you have captured the interest of a recruiter or potential employer who researches you to see what information is available about you on the web. They will find these sites, often at the top of the first page of search results.
(If you haven't already set up a Google Alert on your name, do that, immediately. This is Defensive Googling, and it is not optional in this job market. Now is the time to begin to manage your online reputation if you haven't already started.)
Establishing recruiter magnets will take some time, so get started immediately, and set aside one or two hours a week (or more, if you are unemployed) to create and manage your web identities.
1. Your LinkedIn Profile:
Whether or not you are actually job hunting right now, a LinkedIn Profile is a MUST-DO these days. And, if you are currently happy in your job, a robust, complete LinkedIn Profile can make you more effective in your existing job. It also lays good groundwork for your next job because LinkedIn is so important to recruiters.
And, don't forget to join Job-Hunt's Group to get help with your job search issues. It's free for anyone to join. Also, join groups that are associated with your profession and location, and be active in those groups. They are great for expanding your network, and for communicating with group members you are not otherwise connected to on LinkedIn.
2. Your Google Plus Profile:
Google Plus, although less than three-years-old, is the second largest social network -- twice the size of LinkedIn, as measured by the number of registered users.
Go to plus.Google.com to set up your Google+ Profile. It will show up on Google search results on any search using your name, and it can be more robust than your LinkedIn Profile. Job-Hunt has a "Guide to Using Google Plus for Your Job Search," and Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt's personal branding expert, wrote an excellent article on personal branding with your Google Plus profile.
3. Your official Twitter account:
Twitter can be a great deal of fun as well as good networking. Be sure to complete the Twitter bio, including a description of who you are and where you are with a focus on the keywords relevant to your job search, like the job title and industry.
Make the core emphasis of both your Twitter bio and your tweets to be your job search goals rather than your favorite sports teams or hobbies -- at least until you have found your next job.
Read the "Twitter SEO for Job Search" article in Job-Hunt's Guide to Using Twitter for Job Search for more details. Stay on-topic with this account. Use a different Twitter account to talk about the kids, the dogs, the Yankees (or, better, the Red Sox!) and Starbucks.
Facebook is the largest social network in the world, and it is searched by many recruiters and employers looking for qualified job candidates.
It hopefully goes without saying that you should be very circumspect with your Facebook postings or keep your privacy settings very strong to block the outside world (until Facebook changes them again).
5. Your personal account on Amazon:
Review products, books, videos, and other items on Amazon using your personal account and your real name. Make your reviews thoughtful, well-written and logical, demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively as well as your knowledge and expertise. You'll be able to pull these into your LinkedIn Profile and link to them from your Google Plus Profile. In addition, they will also be visible to the entire Web when someone Googles your name.
If you are good at it, and people find your reviews helpful, you could end up in Amazon's Vine program where you get free stuff to review, in addition to credibility.
Bonus: Your own website, web portfolio, or blog (on your own domain name).
This platform is not free, and it can be a great deal of work, but the payoff may be substantial.
Register your name as a domain name, and also register the common misspellings of your name to forward to your "real" domain name. You can register domain names at GoDaddy.com for $10 a year, and it's worth it to "capture" your name, even if you don't immediately create a Website using that domain name. This is not a blanket endorsement of all of GoDaddy's products and services, but they do a good job of inexpensive domain registration and make it relatively easy to manage domains, too.
Once you have registered your domain name, you can use it for many things that will enhance your online identity and help raise your visibility in the world as well as the job market.
- Use the domain name for your personal email (firstname.lastname@example.org!), your blog, your personal resume Website, and/or an online portfolio of your work.
- Put your personal URL in your email signature, along with your LinkedIn profile, etc.
- Use search optimization techniques with your name and profession as the keyword phrases to be optimized -- in the title tags, in the meta tags, in the headings, etc.
- Link to your personal Website from your Google Plus profile's About page and the various other social networks, like LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Write articles or "guest" blog postings for various appropriate industry/professional sites which offer links back as "compensation."
- If appropriate, add your speaking calendar, product and/or book reviews, testimonials/recommendations, mentions in the press, etc.
We all need to become very good at establishing and managing our public personas, whether we label it personal branding or reputation management. Managing your online reputation is unavoidable in the 21st century. If you do not manage your public persona, you will be vulnerable to bad luck or someone else's agenda. All of the Job-Hunt Guides mentioned above may be found here.
If you need more encouragement, read "What 80% of Employers Do Before Interviewing You."
Follow me on G+ for more job search tips! https://plus.google.com/+SusanPJoyce/
Susan P. Joyce is president of NETability, Inc. and the editor and chief technology writer for Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. This piece first appeared on Job-Hunt.org.