Creating a strong online profile- how, what and why?


Once upon a time, job hunting meant calling agencies to register and having 1-2-1 interviews, after which judgements and opinions would be formed on both sides. With the advent of the internet, and it’s huge and ever-increasing role in our daily lives, it is now all too easy for employers to form judgements on candidates before they’ve even spoken to them. The “online previewing” has now become a very real part of the interviewing process, so how can you make sure that you pass this new stage?

A good online presence is a key component of both creating and selling “Brand You”, so building this up is a vital part of not only your job search, but of progressing in your career in general.

The very first thing you should do is to Google yourself and check what your online presence looks like right now. For most of us, the results will be a mixture of personal and work information. Mine? Well, to save you the time of Googling me, currently it is mainly focused around my LinkedIn profile, but had you Googled me a few years ago, it would be a different story! You see I, like so many others, had entered the world of online dating. Now, I am not saying that this is a deep, dark secret, but do I really want my boss and any future bosses to know that my type is a tall, dark, handsome man? Possibly not. Of course, since then I have learnt the benefits of privacy settings!

So, what does your Google search reveal about you? A bit of a partier coming across from your Facebook page? Or perhaps an adrenaline junkie tweeting all about your latest sky diving adventure? Of course, this could work well if you want to work nights or want to work in adventure sports, but what if you want to be something else? How is a potential employer going to view someone who is out all night partying if the role you are applying for starts promptly at 8.30am? We all have information that won’t help us get the job of our dreams: I for one am not sure what my current boss would have said if he had known when I was hired that I have in my time been captured on film dancing on a table! (In my defence, the dance floor was very crowded. But still, it might have raised some questions).

Once you have Googled yourself, what do you do next? This should be the time that you familiarise yourself with your social media privacy settings. After all, your downtime with friends and family should remain private. With your personal life out of the picture of you, think about how you want you an employer to view you. Think about how you can create a homogenous profile. Think about your unique skills. When we think of the top 100 brands, we can identify them from the colour, the ad, the culture: what are your specific skills and unique selling points that will get you recognised?

Creating an online profile is about attracting employers and interest in your work skills using your profile on LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. So, whether you are established in a career or just starting out, speak to peers, family and friends and get them to describe you in 5 words. You can then use these to help you write your profile for LinkedIn and also for your CV profile. I did this with a friend and they described me as honest, professional, dedicated, conscientious and reliable. These all are helpful in creating a picture of me to the online world, and if you go on to my LinkedIn profile, you will see that I have used them.

So, you have created an online profile, but how do you get it out there for potential employers and/or clients to take notice of? The next part will focus on you can help yourself.