The Definitive Guide to Building an Online
Presence and Getting Hired
The creation of social networks and job search websites such as Monster.com have completely changed the hiring process in just a few years. With employers getting 800+ responses to their job ads and software that automatically weeds out weak resumes, those looking for jobs have to evolve.
A recent study by OfficeTeam shows that more than 1/3 of companies feel that online profiles replace traditional resumes . And with companies increasingly checking social profiles before making hiring decisions, resumes will become decreasingly important over time.
By now, you may be wondering what exactly an online presence is. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that your online presence is anything online that discusses or represents you.
Now, this does not mean that you have to control what is said about you across the entire Internet. You can effective create and manage an online presence by with only a handful of online profiles. To create an effective online presence, you should, at a minimum, create online profiles at these websites:
- A personal website
The Personal Website – Your Own Place on the Web
Creating a personal website is of the utmost importance when building an online presence because it is one of the only places that you will own and have complete control over what is conveyed.
Although there are services out there that will allow you to host a personal website, it’s recommended that you pay for your own shared server (starting at about $4 per month) so that you have more control and ownership of your place on the web.
- Decide on a domain name. Your domain name should be something similar to www.YourWholeName.com.
- Sign up for a shared hosting plan. Our host of choice of hosting for online presence management is Green Geeks. You also get a free domain name with Green Geeks!
- Install a content management system. Although there are many options out there we recommend Forget Your Resume for building a personal website. It’s the easiest software to use to build a personal website. Green Geeks also has a one-click installation for Forget Your Resume.
- Fill out the information on your personal website. If you’re a busy student or professional, I would suggest creating a simple personal page that includes:
- A picture of you smiling
- A short about me
- Your Resume
- Social profile links
- Contact method
If you use Forget Your Resume, the process of creating your personal website should take less than 1-2 hours maximum including the various checkout and download processes.
LinkedIn – Your Experience and Endorsements Online
In today’s job market, it is absolutely essential that you start maintaining your professional experience on LinkedIn. If you already have a resume, and have been using your resume with some success you’ll naturally be a bit reluctant to enter all of your information into LinkedIn… But here are 3 solid reasons why you professional experience absolutely has to be on LinkedIn.
- Not only is your LinkedIn work experience publicly available, but head hunters actively use LinkedIn to find potential employees for their companies.
- LinkedIn allows you to build connections, and leverage those connections to build other connections. This is all permission based and closely represents what I consider natural networking offline.
- LinkedIn allows people to endorse your skills. Now, instead of just you saying that you do great work, others can leave endorsements and recommendations for you.
- Through LinkedIn’s resume export feature (http://resume.linkedinlabs.com/), you can use LinkedIn as a central repository for all of your work experience. Now you don’t need to maintain both an online resume and a resume in your word processor.
Your traditional resume simply cannot compete with LinkedIn’s features. Looking for a getting started guide? Here’s the 4-step quick-start guide to being successful on LinkedIn
- Complete your profile. Number 1 is always the basics. It is important to fill out your personal and company information as completely as possible. Start off by using a profile picture of you with a smile. From there move on to basic contact and personal information and then fill out your work history as best as you can.
- Share updates. This process is very similar to twitter. If you a great article that’s related to your industry or business in general. Not only are you establishing yourself in your industry but also you are going to be showing up in your connections’ feeds. The pro tip for sharing updates is to be sure to check analytics. Give you connections the content that they most like. This will lead to more likes and shares, which leads to more connections!
- Invite established connections. You’ve likely already worked to build up your social following on Facebook/Twitter, why don’t you invite your friends to come join you on LinkedIn? While you’re at it, go ahead and invite business acquaintances as well. This is a no-brainer that can greatly increase your reach!
- Join a LinkedIn Group. There are LinkedIn groups for almost every industry or interest out there. Find a group and begin connecting. Pro tip – focus on the groups that have the most interaction. Your goal here should be to increase your connections and build your reputation. This will be hard in a stagnant group.
As with other efforts, success from LinkedIn will not occur overnight. But, with effort, you will find that the business connections and experienced endorsements will be well worth your time.
Google+ - Conquering Search and Social at the Same Time
With Google’s increasing focus on social signals, it is absolutely essential that you create and maintain a Google+ profile. Here are two reasons why creating a Google+ profile is important.
- Google+ helps with search. Although it’s not clear how social signals will affect search rankings, it is clear that social integration with search is already impacting search traffic. Features such as Google authorship and social sharing make websites more visible in search engines, which usually leads to more click-throughs.
- Own your name in the search engines. If you have a Google+ account, Google will prominently display your profile on the right hand side of results when your name is searched. Again, this helps with credibility and reliability.
Here are three steps to effectively use Google+ for both your online presence and to take advantage of increased search rankings.
- Fill out your profile. This is an easy step, but many times it is overlooked. Be sure to use a profile picture of you smiling and fill out relevant information about you. To take advantage of increased search traffic through Google authorship, be sure to link to website that you own/contribute to.
- Proactively build connections. Not only does this help you increase your reach, but also this is likely one of the social signals that could help increase your traffic. The idea that if you have many Google+ connections, then you are an authority.
- Join relevant communities. Not only will this help you build connections, but it could also help you establish yourself as an authority.
While Google+ is still a relatively new social network, and it’s affects on search are still unknown, it is vital to building your online presence.
Twitter – Making Waves in 140 Characters or Less
When I first heard of Twitter, I was sure it was the latest fad. But over the past few years, Twitter has established itself as a leading and versatile social network. One of the key benefits of use Twitter is it’s ease of use in sharing links and other short bits of information as well as the ability to easily join the conversations of industry giants.
Here are 3 tips for using Twitter to build an online presence:
- Follow relevant users. Although it is not automatic, many people will follow you back when you follow them. Which mean that one of the simplest ways to build a following is to begin following other people. For building an online presence, it is best to only follow those who are in your niche/industry, for reasons that follow.
- Post information that would be useful to your industry. By posting useful information you are establishing your usefulness and credibility within your space. This makes it easier to get in touch with influencers within your industry later on.
- Consider building lists of the most influential people in your industry. Not only will this help you keep a handle on the heartbeat of your industry, it also allows you another chance to get a follow back from the giants in your industry.
The key to using Twitter effectively is to strike a balance between spending an adequate amount of time on Twitter and wasting time.
Facebook – Keep it Rated G
Although Facebook can be, and sometimes is, used to build an online presence, it does not seem to have the same atmosphere as Twitter or LinkedIn when it comes to building business and career connections. This is likely due to the fact that Facebook is usually considered more private.
For this reason, I do not usually recommend trying to add people to your Facebook friends, unless you have personally met them.
And at all times I highly recommend that you keep it g-rated. Be careful of the statuses, pictures, and check-ins that you make public. The wisest advice that I have heard is that if you would not want your parents seeing it, keep it private, or don’t post it at all.
By now, there should be no doubt that you need to be creating an online presence to stay competitive in today’s job market. And while it may seem competitive, you can create an effective online presence with your own personal website and a handful of the most popular social networks.
But to be safe, and to future proof your online presence, I would recommend claiming your name (usertag) on social networks as they crop up. This will protect your online reputation.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.