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By Damilola Faustino

Creating and controlling your personal brand for potential employers is imperative these days. Social networks and the web have made it easier than ever for recruiters to do a quick search on job candidates, to either disqualify you or invite you to interview for an opening. Here are the are ways to build your online identity.

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Make self-Googling a regular practice

Track how many results come up for you when you search your name and what they say about you. Is someone else with the same name in the top results? Are the results about you accurate and consistent with what you want people to know about you? Is there anything unsavory about you that is likely to discredit you and jeopardise the impression you will make on decision-makers? If you find “dirt”, start working to bring positive, on-brand results to the forefront, pushing negative results down to the bottom where they’ll be less visible.

Set up a Google Alerts account for your name

This free service lets you know when people say something about you online. Once you set up an account, Google Alerts will send you an email whenever a search term you’ve provided (“your name” or whatever other words you want) is published on the Internet.

Join and participate in online social/business networking groups

Choose appropriate sites whose members are people you need to get in front of and connect with (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter). Your online profile is a powerful opportunity for personal branding, attracting your target market, networking, and sending the right message about yourself. Start connecting with people who can help you gain access to current job openings and the hidden job market.

Get involved in blogging

Search engines love blogs because the content is relevant and constantly updated. Comment and guest blog on relevant blogs and/or consider starting your own blog. Blogging is a great way to share your expertise, build community, and position yourself as a niche expert. It is probably the best way to build credibility and will exponentially increase your search results and visibility.

Launch your own website and online career portfolio

Establish a single destination for all your career and achievement activity. Working from your branded cv and other career marketing documents (cover letter, achievement summary, case studies summary, career biography, reference dossier, etc.), create a vivid comprehensive package illuminating your career history, strengths, passions, brand attributes, and value proposition. Hiring decision makers can easily gain access to everything they need to know about you in one place, with one click.

Write reviews of relevant books for online booksellers.

Set up an account and personal profile with top booksellers (Amazon, Barnes, and Noble, etc.). Review books that are relevant to your field and areas of expertise. Your reviews and profile will rank high in your search results. Your reviews will also be picked up and published on many other bookseller sites, greatly increasing your search results.

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