Do your friends think you’re funny and quirky? Are you a hit at karaoke? Can you be counted on to be a great listener when someone needs to talk.
We all have special traits that make us special and unique. Our friends and families celebrate these traits, but they’ve known us for years and have taken the time to get to know us.
Conveying the characteristics that make us special to a prospective employer through our online profile is a different story. Go too far and you come off as “quirky and odd.” Don't go far enough and you’re a dish of vanilla ice cream, nice to have, but not something that gets you all excited.
In today’s job market your online profile, whether on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter or Facebook can help you stand out from the crowd and may get you considered for your next job.
Make Your Online Profile Come Alive
Add your photo. It is astounding how many people neglect this all too important feature of an online profile. No one is suggesting you need to spend a fortune on a professional headshot. Grab a smartphone and get someone to take a nice photo and smile – let your personality shine through.
Write your profile in the “first person.” Your goal is to make your true voice come through. Writing in the third person, i.e. Prior to joining XYZ Company, Mr. Smith served as the Director of Sales for ABC Corporation, feels detached and remote. Add some personal elements that may not be on your written resume. For example, “Prior to joining XYZ Company, I spent three years as the Director of Sales. I built and managed a team that beat sales goals 4 straight quarters, an accomplishment for which I am extremely proud." That statement makes you sound energized and engaged, hard working and committed to success.
Add some personal information. I enjoy reading profiles that are a mix of both professional and personal descriptors. "PR professional, ice cream junkie and serious Eagles fan" tells a viewer a little more about you than you work in the field of public relations. There is an old adage, people do business with people they like, trust and respect. If someone is reading your online profile, you have no ability to help that person know who you are, except through words.
Search Engine Optimization. This is a critically important step to remember. Recruiters search for candidates the same way you search for good restaurants. You type in Italian restaurants center city Philadelphia and voila, the search engine returns a list of restaurants.
“Italian, restaurants, center city, Philadelphia" are all key words. Key words are integral to how search engines find related websites. Therefore, if a recruiter is on LinkedIn and looking for a pediatric physical therapist, your online profile needs to have "pediatric physical therapist" in your profile in order for you to show up in the search results.
You have to think like a recruiter and what terms they may use to search for someone with your credentials and make sure those terms occur in your profile, keeping the important key phrases at the top in your Summary.
If this is an area where you feel you need some help, a good way to understand important key words is to look at job postings you're interested in and look for similar phrases.
Be Consistent. Like many people, you may have several online communities to which you belong. While you're job searching, it's important to be consistent across all platforms. While you may think of Facebook as a place where you interact with friends and family and LinkedIn for your professional life, you never know where a potential recruiter or hiring manager is searching, so you want to ensure consistency in your message and brand.
Online communities have opened up a world of possibilities and broken down so many barriers for job seekers and hiring managers alike. Being savvy and managing your online persona is now one of the most important ways to spend your time during your job search.
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