Friday, July 8, 2011

Building Your Online Career Brand: Five Tools for Job-Seekers

By Dr. Randall S. Hansen Ph.D

Are you still using Monster or CareerBuilder to post your resume or search for jobs? Are you wasting countless hours each day searching for jobs online -- with little or no results for all your efforts? Are you searching for a better way to find a new job or career? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, this article will provide you with the tools to proactively take control of your job-search while using the Web to build your career brand.
What is your career brand? It's a combination of your reputation as a worker combined with a promise of your potential and impact on future employers. Your career brand can start with a resume (if it's a good resume), but goes far beyond traditional job-seeking methods to include a plethora of tools. 

The goal of this article is to help you to understand and use these online branding tools to establish or build your online reputation. Branding guru Dan Schawbel refers to these as your "digital assets." The future of job-hunting -- your future success in job-hunting -- will require establishing and managing your online career brand. 

Career Branding Tools

1. LinkedIn profile. If you are a professional -- or an aspiring professional -- you must have a profile on LinkedIn, a business-oriented networking site that consists of millions of experienced professionals from around the world, representing hundreds of industries from more than 200 countries. When you join, you can create a profile that can serve as both a resume and an introduction to your career brand. Once your profile is completed, you then build connections with other members, getting introduced to new people through the people in your network.

2. Personal Website. One of the best ways to build and promote your career brand is by developing a professional Website that showcases your key accomplishments. At a minimum, you should buy a domain name based on your name (for example, mine is and publish your resume. Even better, publish your career portfolio, content-rich articles, and other keyword-rich materials that will lead prospective employers looking for someone with your qualifications directly to your site. 

3. Twitter account. Every day, more and more individuals and businesses are tweeting information, ideas, links, and more Ð all in under 140 characters per tweet (message). Twitter, a networking and micro-blogging site, enables people to connect and communicate -- developing both a following of people as well as following the tweets of others. Tweeting key information, resources, and other professional advice -- while building a following -- is a very easy way to build your career brand. 

4. Professional blog. If you are a decent writer and can commit to writing regularly, creating a professional blog is a great tool for building your career brand. A blog is a specialized Website that focuses on a particular subject (person, industry, profession) that can include news, analysis, commentary, and links in a variety of formats (including print, audio, images, and video). Showcasing your expertise and knowledge of your industry or profession is an excellent way to build your career brand.

5. Social networking profiles/accounts. Consider joining at least two social-networking sites. One should be a general social-networking site, such as Facebook, and one should be career-specific (which you can find by searching Google -- most professions have multiple networking sites). While social networking is just that -- social -- remember that networking with others (online and off) is one of the most powerful tools of job-hunting as the majority of jobs are filled through referrals, not through responses to job postings. 
Final Thoughts

There is no question that your future job-search success depends on building and developing your online career brand. Instead of investing wasted hours posting your resume on the major job boards and applying to jobs that may not even exist, use that time instead to focus your energies on following the advice in this article to build your online career brand -- even simply starting with one of these tools and moving to the others as you have more time. 

Employers have been Googling job applicants for years to learn more a out their online career brand, but even more so in the future, employers will treat the Web as one giant database of potential job applicants -- and you'll need to have a strong online brand to be found.

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