Guest post by Greg Coyle, MyWebCareer
In this tough job market, building a strong professional online presence and leveraging it is a great way to stand out from other job seekers. With the majority of employers now checking out candidates online, a strong online brand has the potential to push your resume to the top of the pile.
Employers value candidates and employees that are passionate about what they do. Your online presence should communicate proficiency in your chosen domain, your commitment to what you do and the value to an employer of investing in your talents.
Thankfully, building a professional online presence and using it for competitive advantage is easier now than ever before. Keep in mind however, that building a strong professional brand is not accomplished by just creating a bunch of online profiles. The key to standing out from the crowd is engagement. Create your professional online profiles and then, get engaged. Join industry groups, follow thought leaders, post and answer questions and, above all, network.
Here are just a few ways to make yourself stand out online. You shouldn’t limit yourself to these online communities but they’re a good start:
This platform is like a playground for professionals. As many of our social interactions now take place on Facebook, it’s not surprising that professional interactions occur more and more on LinkedIn. Connecting is the first step to engaging. Connect to those you know at first, and then from there, expand your network through those connections. Be proactive and start contributing to conversations. LinkedIn offers numerous industry groups, join those relevant to your areas of interest. Post a question, or answer someone’s. The point is to engage, keep the conversation going and demonstrate a level of interest. You’ll start to see familiar faces, and you’ll start to stand out.
Quora seem to have hit upon just the right formula for a successful and truly useful user-driven question and answer community. The site is rapidly attracting new users, among them some of the most influential and well-known names across numerous industries. Sign-up for free, fill out your profile and start following some people and topics. Once you’re comfortable with how it all works, start looking for topics where you can make a useful contribution. Quora is an excellent medium for building awareness and reputation and significantly less overhead than managing a blog.
When I co-founded MyWebCareer back in January 2010, I was a Twitter skeptic. I didn’t have an account and couldn’t see what possible value 140 character messages could have in a business and professional environment. Those assumptions have caused me to eat much humble pie over the last few months. 20% of our users now come to us through people sharing their Career Scores and experience with our service on Twitter. Many of the industry thought leaders and analysts we now work with, we connected with on Twitter. So, think about getting engaged professionally on Twitter, follow people active in your industry and consider contributing to Twitter discussions or even Tweet your own ideas and views.
What else would you add to this list?
Greg Coyle is the co-founder and Director of Product Development at MyWebCareer. For the past year, Greg and his co-founders at MyWebCareer have been working on developing online tools for career professionals that enable you to discover, evaluate, and monitor your professional online brand. You can visit the beta at www.mywebcareer.com and get your free, personalized Career Score.