How to Build a Strong Professional Presence Online was originally published on Vault.
The internet has become an important tool for professionals, especially when it comes to finding jobs, networking, and staying up to date on the latest industry trends. But having a successful online presence requires more than creating a few profiles—stand out by treating yourself as a brand and promoting your skills and experience. Below are some tips on how to have a strong presence online:
Treat Your LinkedIn Profile Like It’s Your Own Billboard
A common mistake people make is to put the bare minimum on their LinkedIn page and not interact with other LinkedIn users. Instead, your LinkedIn profile should be a polished snapshot of your achievements and expertise. Take time to regularly update your LinkedIn profile, especially if you are currently looking for a job, and use the site to engage with others. The following are some steps you should consider:
- Make sure that you have a great headshot. Your profile picture should be clear and professional, not a casual photo from a vacation or a social gathering. If you do not have professional photos, ask a friend or family member to take a photo of you against a simple backdrop, and crop it to headshot dimensions. A professional photo is a great way to make a good first impression.
- Let recruiters know you are looking for a new job. LinkedIn includes a tool that notifies recruiters and your network that you are looking for a new job. If you enable the #OpenToWork feature and specify the types of job opportunities you’re interested in and your preferred location, you will appear in search results when recruiters look for candidates.
- Go into detail about your job history and tailor it accordingly. Your LinkedIn profile should go into detail and allow everyone to see the different skills and experiences you have acquired. Additionally, recruiters will be able to find you based on certain words you use. If there is a specific job you want, look at the job description, and use those keywords (if they apply to you!) on your LinkedIn profile.
- Reviews. Having other people vouch for your work is invaluable. Ask a current coworker or former boss to write a review about you and your strengths on LinkedIn. Having a positive reference is a great way to stand out from others. Just be sure to return the favor!
- Interact regularly. Regularly sharing posts or commenting on someone else’s posts on LinkedIn can help you establish your voice in the industry—especially if the information and insights you share are relevant and useful. The more people interact with you on LinkedIn, the more exposure you will get. If you create a post and someone “likes” it or comments, then your post will be visible to their network too. Take it a step further and connect with the people you interact with on LinkedIn—networking is crucial in building your career.
- Headline. The biggest question on LinkedIn is what to put in your headline. This is where your elevator pitch comes in. Create a description that includes your experience and current goal so that you reach the right people. You also should consider the types of employers you want to attract and what value you will bring to the company. Give the employer a reason to want to talk to you.
If you are looking for an easier way to express yourself, Twitter is a great way to microblog on certain topics. It is also a useful way to reach more people and find others who share the same interests as you. The more you interact with them, the more attention you will receive.
Create Your Own Website
Creating your own blog or website is a good way to showcase your skills and experience. You can find sites that will let you create your own space for free. And unlike social media, you can customize your blog/website to convey your personality and share your accomplishments in a way that best highlights them. Having your own website or blog also gives you a chance to demonstrate your creative side.
You can treat this space as a portfolio by publishing your own articles or other work. This can be helpful during interviews because you can share your work in a centralized, organized location.
Of course, be careful what you post. Make sure it is well edited and that the content is appropriate.
DELETE, DELETE, DELETE.
We have all heard the saying that everything lives on the internet even if you delete it. But it is still important to clean up your trail and put your most professional self forward. Take a serious look at your social media presence, and make sure that your past posts are professional. You may consider tools like Facebook’s “On This Day” or TweetDelete, which will allow you to delete your tweets in bulk. If you use certain social media sites in a personal/social capacity, lock them so that only your professional profiles are accessible to employers. (Although you should still conduct yourself appropriately on locked accounts—you never know when someone will take a screenshot.)
Follow these tips to enhance your online presence!