New job seekers of today’s work force are entering a competitive environment that requires much more emphasis on one’s online presence. Today’s intern or potential candidate has to worry about his social media profile, whether online bullies have ruined his reputation, and where and how to display his work so that it receives the most attention.
Learning one’s industry is not just about learning the trade. A candidate must also build and maintain a reputation that will not only land him a job, but keep other employers interested in him as his career develops.
Clearing Negative Reviews
Everybody makes mistakes and sometimes circumstances outside of our control will affect us. Even in this early stage, a negative blog post from an old acquaintance or a bad mark posted publicly can disqualify you from a job. Employers want the most disciplined candidates on the market so cleaning your reputation can help cover up some of your mistakes. For those who had too much fun in college, review Facebook photo albums and remove any compromising pictures, and hide offensive comments or posts.
Experts suggest that you control page one of search engines with positive information about yourself and review suggested search terms for possible negative marks. You may even wish to go beyond page one to make sure that employers have a clear picture of the good qualities you can bring to the project.
You should consider buying your name as a domain and create a “Projects” page to show off what you have done. Take time to track down and link to all of the projects you can find, regardless of how small your part was. You should write effective copy to describe your role in those projects, highlighting the goals of the project and how your changes impacted those goals.
Establishing a Web Presence
You’ll need a presence for yourself, which you can establish organically by carefully targeting areas in your niche. Blogs are good to start with, as guest posting can often lead to good relationships and more eyes on your work. Be sure to link back to your website or “Projects” page, and use target keywords for anchor text. When you write, present information that is thoroughly researched and be sure to respond to comments.
You can get more face time in the search engine by developing your Google+ profile with a good headshot. Include a short description about who you are and what you do to entice other browsers to view your site or check out posts you’ve made to Google’s network. LinkedIn is a great resource for job hunters, it is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community that can help you maintain professional contacts and get recommendations and referrals. It has a neat feature where people who know your qualifications can actually endorse specific skills of yours.
Maintaining your Reputation
Routinely follow up on guest posts you make, and provide new information as appropriate. That means conducting follow-up posts and responding to comments in the threads. Google Alerts is an easy and free solution to search for reposts of articles you write, or posts made about you by name. If your post ends up on social media, have Alerts ready for the “title” so that you can track what is being said and respond to that feedback.
Aside from your resume and your degrees, your presence on the Internet is the only way a company can gauge if you’re going to be a fit for a position prior to an interview. Make it easy for them to verify your resume claims with a website that shows off your best work.
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