Employers are still challenged to find the best and most qualified candidates for many open positions, particularly leadership positions. Companies are no longer settling for “good enough.” Successful candidates for these coveted positions are those who have depth and can contribute to the current and future success of an organization. Frequently these candidates remain undiscovered, frustrating the search efforts of organization seeking such candidates and leaving the potential dream candidate undiscovered. Employers have turned to the Internet to find the best candidate. If you are one of them, you need to leverage the Internet to get noticed and reveal your value.
The Internet makes it easier than ever to build a strong and influential reputation and showcase your expertise, professional personality, and ability to solve problems.
Social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Quora, Twitter and Twellow provide a platform from which you can identify, engage, and provide value for employers for whom you would like to work, or to attract the attention of decision-makers in your current organization who may not know you.
Here are 18 ways you can leverage the Internet to build a professional presence that stands out and gets you noticed.
1. Think keywords. Create a list of keywords that industry professionals use for searches, and use these keywords to indicate your level of experience, skills and problem-solving ability.
2. Create a descriptive keyword-rich profile, and use it on all of your social networks. Be sure to incorporate keywords to attract traffic and success stories to highlight your accomplishments.
3. Select a professional photo, and use it on all of your social networks. The consistent use of the same professional image helps those who may not remember your name to recognize you.
4. Make it easy to contact you while protecting your privacy. Use a post office box instead of your home address. Sign up for a free Google Voice telephone number.
5. Optimize your profile on LinkedIn, one of the world’s largest and most popular networks for professionals. You can do this by incorporating keywords in the summary and other sections of your profile, listing all of your educational institutions, including the names of significant volunteer experiences, and using LinkedIn applications to add video, slideshow presentations, and reading lists to your LinkedIn profile.
6. Use LinkedIn Answers to increase your visibility and to showcase your ability to spot issues and solve problems.
7. LinkedIn Groups are great for getting on the radar of executives and other employees. Add value by contributing insightful comments, offering fresh information, and initiating industry-specific discussions.
8. Create an engaging Google profile that serves as a visual résumé. Include photos, videos, a keyword-rich professional description, and links to your personal blog and other social networks. Google profiles are great for “getting found” online and influencing how the people who “find you” perceive your promise of value. The influence results from the types of information linked to your Google profile and what people find when searching your name.
9. Establish a personal blog on WordPress and make it your home on the Internet. Use your personal blog to post articles, white papers, case studies, and links to all of your social networks.
10. Become a prolific writer. Demonstrate your technical skills and the value of your experience by commenting on current events and trends in your industry in your personal blog, or submit content to relevant blogs as a guest blogger.
11. Showcase your expertise by writing articles and case studies. Write at least one article a week about how you could help an organization that is in the news solve a challenge that is relevant to your expertise. Doing so showcases your ability to communicate and your problem-solving skills. Include a condensed biography at the end of every article that includes your full name, area of expertise, industry, a headshot, and the website address for your personal blog, Google profile and LinkedIn profile.
12. Widely distribute your articles and case studies online. Now that you’ve written your article, send a summary to your network by email and include a link to the full article. Use an email management tool distribution. Use respected article directories for greater exposure.
13. Become a problem solver. Use Google Alerts to identify businesses or problems in your industry for which you have innovative, insightful and impactful solutions. Create a weekly innovative solutions section on your personal blog that details exactly how you would make an impact at these companies.
14. Become a curator of current thoughts, ideas and trends in your industry. Use Facebook and LinkedIn as depositories for interesting videos, audios, and links to articles written by thought-leaders. Let your Facebook and LinkedIn pages be a reflection of what you’re listening to, reading, and watching to stay current.
15. Use Twitter to build an online community of leaders in your industry, while simultaneously building an online community of the customers, clients, and fans of the types of companies for which you would like to work.
16. Use Twitter to interact with industry peers and to build relationships. Create Twitter lists with colleagues in your industry. Monitor the lists for opportunities to connect with them and to add value. Use Twellow to identify relevant people to follow.
17. Quora is a great tool for market research and for building credibility as an expert in your industry. Use it to find questions that highlight issues you can solve. Write thoughtful answers that highlight your creativity, ability to spot issues, and problem-solving skills.
18. Use online video to show exactly how you can impact an employer’s success. Start by simply creating a list of questions that show how you would handle difficult situations that companies in your industry are likely to encounter. Upload a recording of you answering these questions. Display your full name, the website address for your personal blog, and your Google Voice number at the end of each video. Write a summary of each video that includes keywords in the title and description.
Thanks TC Coleman, Founder of Upward Action, for sharing your expertise.