Today, a robust online presence is more important than ever. Executive recruiters are searching the web for information about potential executive candidates, and employers are checking online not only to gain information about potential hires, but to check on their current employees as well.
What does this mean to you, especially if you are engaged in an executive job search? You need to show up high in the Google rankings to maximize your online visibility. What your online brand says about you speaks volumes to a recruiter and potential employer. Does your online brand create the “know, like, and trust” factor that is critical to recruiters and hiring companies? Prospective employers will make judgments about you based on what they read about you online.
A few tips:
Google yourself. Have you Googled yourself lately? Did you find yourself on page one? Page two? Page three? I’ll share a little known fact: recruiters rarely go back more than two to three pages when looking for information about a candidate. If valuable substantive information does not show up, a recruiter is likely to look to the next executive on the list.
Create a strong brand statement. Before your online brand can be effective, you need to make sure that it includes what you have to offer, and your unique value – what sets you apart from your competition.
Personal branding is a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and special—and using those qualities to guide your professional and personal life. It’s about understanding and using your unique attributes—your skills, strengths, values and passions—to distinguish yourself from your competition.
In terms of your career it means communicating your unique promise of value—what you offer employers. For your brand to accomplish its purpose, it must be authentic (the genuine you). Check the BlueSteps website for articles and blogs to learn more about personal branding and your career.
Scrub your digital dirt. Negative information about you can be difficult to get rid of, however, one effective strategy for managing your online reputation is to “bury” it. By posting new content (comments or posts on LinkedIn, blog posts or articles for industry journals), the unfavorable information will scroll down in the search results.
So how do you move up in Google’s rankings and improve your online brand? A few strategies:
Did you know that 93 percent of recruiters are looking for candidates on LinkedIn? They are now checking your LinkedIn profile first and then Google you second. Elevate your LinkedIn profile to showcase your executive brand and improve the chances of recruiters and hiring managers finding and connecting with you.
There are many tools in LinkedIn that you can utilize to elevate your online brand. For example, in LinkedIn Groups, follow a few conversation streams relevant to your career/industry and comment occasionally. You will start building your brand and expertise in certain areas, and this will show up on Google.
Short videos are easy to create even with your smart phone, and you can showcase your “tell me about yourself” branding statement, or talk about your top 3 strengths. The topics and possibilities are vast in how you can use video. These videos are also easy to upload to your LinkedIn profile summary.
Create a Visual CV
Another way to improve your online brand is to create a visual resume/CV. This website (www.visualcv.com) walks you through uploading your resume and creating a custom URL. It shows up in a Google search and adds to your online presence, as well as makes your resume available to whomever Googles you.
Comment on Amazon
Even Amazon has an impact on Google search results. Your comments will show up on Google for Amazon books or whatever products you choose to review.
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President of Equinox, said about anyone with a strong online brand: “Clearly this person has identified something about engagement and leadership — he or she could be the one to lead our business forward.”
In summary, social media has a huge impact on job search today. Social recruiting isn’t going away, so continual online management of your brand is critical to maintaining a positive online presence.
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