In a competitive job market, every aspect of your personality is scrutinized in order to eliminate candidates during a job search. Your online profile is one of the first things Human Resources will do when selecting their top candidates. Learn how you appear online and how to use Google Alerts to protect yourself.
- Step one, search yourself.
Search your name on several search engines. Type your name in the following format:
Alexa Duval and “Alexa Duval”
Another option is using the site Brand Yourself. The gives you a result of an initial Google search. You can clarify what sites and information is yours. Brand Yourself also gives you the option of tailoring your online presence to generate more Google traffic. The site is worth a visit for that insight alone.
While both methods are helpful tools in cleaning up your online image, I actually recommend that you use both methods when devising a social media presence. I acquired more information using each method than if I had merely done the Google search.
- What did you find? Did you find anything that paints you in an unflattering light?
The “real me” has a nice online presence. However, I did learn that several women who share my name work in rather “interesting” positions. I have adjusted my url names to distinguish myself from my peers.
- How to use Google Alerts to manage my online presence.
Google Alerts is a wonderful tool to assess your online profiles. The smartest way to protect your online influence is to set up a Google Alert for your name. Let’s do a step by step set up for Google Alerts.
Set up a Google Alert with your name.
- Type in www.google.com/alerts
- Type your name as the search query ex. Sasha King
- Select “Everything” for your Result Type.
- Select “Once a Week” for How Often you want a message. Selecting “Every Day” will subject you to a steady dose of spam.
- Enter your email account to have updates sent to you.
Read each email weekly. If you see inaccurate or disparaging information about yourself online, then consider removing the url. I’ll discuss this process in an upcoming post.
Whether or not to blog for a job or about your career is ultimately a personal choice. Some clever and passionate writers are able to adjust their prolific promulgation into book deals, a personal brand, or a job. On the other hand, other workers eschew this method of social influence, citing over exposure, poor workplace etiquette, and lack of control.
While I certainly agree with some of the critiques of blogging, I do feel that someone who is an adept writer could market those skills into a permanent position. I started this blog to share information with job seekers and it has helped some of my peers. Additionally, a humanities major, copywriter, or magazine editor can use this tool to find work before their next job hunt.
The mother of corporate blogging and social media enthusiast Debbie Weil created a wonderful set of tips for jobseekers who blog.
These tips were taken from Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters
Tip 1: Start with something you’re passionate about.
-Topic should be related to your job hunt
-Make sure your blog maintains a consistent theme.
-Give yourself a several months to year to engage a following and Klout
Tip 2: Concentrate on shorter, more frequent entries for your blog.
-Don’t write a “War and Peace” entry every day. A few paragraphs with sufficient links will do.
-Realize part of your goal with the blog is to establish yourself as an authority on the subject. Setting yourself apart as a sage in your industry is more important than how much you.
-Link relevant articles.
Tip 3: Let your authentic voice emerge as a writer.
-Have a viewpoint and state it.
*Be careful: Don’t launch a full force attack on industry big wigs, current or past employers, ect.
4. Use grammar and syntax, even if your blog is informal.
-No misspellings and typos allowed.
-Use your blog’s review settings or type the post in Word. (Word has a setting for blogs).
-The quality of your writing does matter.
Tip 5: Purposefully organize the content of your blog.
-Think about categories.
-Keywords: Use the terms that will get you noticed (Google Adsense)
-Create a category for this phrase (or create tags)
-Craft blog titles using keywords
Tip 6: Place contact information on your blog
-Build contact information into blog
-Netiquette: Consider indicating where you work IF it won’t get you into trouble. If you do decide to indicate where you work, always use the following disclaimer.
“The views expressed on this blog are my own. They do not represent the policies or procedures at [your company].”
Tip 7: Have fun with your blog.
-Delve further into pet topics.
-Anything can happen. Prepare for the best!
Social media is a useful format for promotion and building a personal brand. However, like other job search tools, it shouldn’t be used without forethought. Please ask yourself the following questions before you use social media in your job search.
- Are you sure you want to stay in your current field?
If you’re in a period of transition and are unsure of your next step, tread carefully when using social media. Social media footprints remain on the web for life, and creating profiles that you later abandon isn’t a good idea if you want to paint a consistent image to employers. Consider waiting until you have a clear career focus before establishing a stronger presence online.
- Do you have the skills to pursue your passion?
The career mantra for a generation was to “follow your bliss.” Of course, this philosophy has been debated. Whether you or not you ascribe to either philosophy, you need to honestly assess your skills. Loving a topic isn’t enough to gain clout or authority in an industry. If you lack the credential (M.D, PhD, or PMP ect.) consider investing in the education you need to become an authority on the subject.
- Can you “transfer” your skills through social media?
Several bloggers have used social media to break into a new career. Their expertise and willingness to critique their old profession opened up new doors while burning bridges in their old occupation. My friendly advice on this approach is to remember rule number one and proceed with caution. I recommend the following blogs if you want to learn more on this approach.
Sell Out Your Soul: http://www.selloutyoursoul.com/
Post Academic: http://postacademic.org/
CareerChange Blog: http://careerchange.whatsnext.com/
Worst Professor Ever: http://worstprofessorever.com/
When you can answer these questions, you’re ready to start creating your personal brand through social media. Good luck!