I often have commented in blogs and guest posts why it is important today to speak to and about your accomplishments. Fact is companies want to know what you have accomplished not just what jobs you have held. Your past accomplishments are an indicator of how you will perform in the future. So in this hotly competitive job market, you must “stand out” and be “outstanding.” Yet it is well to be aware that the bar on job search is rising.
The resume is no longer the primary means for getting considered for a job. The race to hire the best is stepping up. Companies are no longer just relying on what you tell them through your resume and cover letters. Companies and recruiters are heading straight to Google, Bing, Blekko and other search engines to see what you are truly up to and how large is your web footprint.
So you say, “how do I become visible and what can do insure a visible presence in cyberspace?” Is the resume a relic of the past. The short answer is no. But the resume today is only one of several means of highlighting you as a brand. Here are some other ideas:
1. Distinguish yourself. As the U.S. Army’s 1986 recruiting slogan said, “Be all you can be.” If you have a job you love, do it well and exceed expectations. People love a winner. And if you are a winner at what you do, people will talk!
2. Pay it forward and pay it back. If you have been helped by others, reciprocate. There are countless non-profit organizations in the world who can benefit from the gray matter between your ears. And in the process of helping them, you may just receive some recognition that ends up in cyberspace.
3. Create your own content, particularly if you have a point of view, “the gift of gab,” and/or can offer wisdom to the masses or at least those with an interest.
4. Develop and curate a blog that focuses on a topic about which you have a passion and are a thought leader. People love stories. So employ the art of storytelling in your blog as a way to make it interesting and compelling. And keep in mind that the end game with blogging is to educate, enlighten, entertain or enrage.
5. Set up a “Topic-based Twitter” moniker. If your passion is deep sea diving, set up a twitter account like @deepdivedan and focus all of your tweets on everything someone would need to know to be a “deep diver,” including the who, what, where, when and why of diving. At some point folks will recognize your passion and expertise and wait for your next 140 characters to learn something new or be enlightened. Furthermore, your tweets forever become part of the cyber stream and likely show up in a web search.
6. Answer the question. Take advantage of the Q&A platforms on social platforms like Facebook and Linkedin and answer questions in your area of expertise or sphere of influence. Over time your connections and acquaintances will recognize your knowledge and come to respect your wisdom. Your reputation is likely to precede you.
7. Take control of your content. There are many websites out there that trawl the internet, gathering, storing and then presenting information about as many people as possible. No doubt you will have a profile somewhere on www.zoominfo.com, www.spokeo.com, www.jigsaw.com, etc. Many of these websites allow you to take control of your ‘contact card’ and choose what is displayed. Delete any errors and create a profile that is accurate and compliments your career.
8. Using social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Xing is a key component to establishing your personal brand online. Each or these websites are highly ranked by search engines, so a profile created on these platforms will rise higher in search results than other lesser used information platforms. It is also a great way to compete with others who may have your same name. A noted of caution: Take time to develop your online profiles; you cannot simply replicate your resume. You must concisely portray your key professional and personal accomplishments with an executive summary that immediately draws interest from industry leaders, hiring managers and executive recruiters.
9. Employ the best of Google! Google has a profiles option which is integrated with the rest of Google’s expansive list of programs such as Gmail or Google Reader (a must have RSS reader). Having a Google profile will help you get another link found by search engines, and beat that rival executive with the same name. Visit www.google.com/profiles to create an online profile much like Linkedin or Facebook – because of the high visibility in Google’s own search engine, I would suggest keeping personal info out and making it a professional extension of your personal brand.
10. Create a portfolio or presentation about you employing the SlideShare Platform (www.slideshare.com) SlideShare is an online service used to host presentations online, and share with internet users worldwide. SlideShare is a great way to establish yourself as an industry leader by sharing presentations demonstrating your knowledge and helping readers to learn from your experience and see your content first hand. Create a personal branding presentation similar to a C.V. or resume. Include links to company websites and other content that is relevant to your personal brand. Outline your professional history, include photos and videos to tell your story, and start with a clear executive summary. Lastly, publish it on your LinkedIn profile by visiting the LinkedIn home screen, scroll to the end of the right column and choose Slideshare presentation from the ‘add application’ button.
Think outside the resume! The bottom line is that a presence in cyberspace can be a “third party” validation of who you are, what you have done, who you have helped and the value you bring to your environment and those with whom you associate. And increasingly the footprint or “cyberprint” you leave can be the trail to your next opportunity.