Social Media The Job Search Your Brand

Reverse Job Search 101: How to Take Control of Your Digital Footprint

Reverse Job Search: Definition Review
As stated in my past article, the reverse job search describes the process of marketing one’s talents, skills, achievements, qualities, and reputation to a target audience so that those with the jobs you want are finding you.  Consider how you market yourself.  Having a targeted resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, references, etc. are all necessities but even with all of these traditional self-marketing tools, you still haven’t maximized your self-promotion unless you take control of your digital footprint.  If you want employers to see you, you need to have an online brand.  Why?

The Digital Age: Get with It or Get Left in the Dust
We are in the digital age where mp3 sales surpass CD sales, movie downloads are putting video rental stores out of business, mobile telecommunications carriers are putting wired telecommunications carriers out of business, and digital e-books have caused traditional bookstores to disappear.  Your print marketing materials are quickly becoming irrelevant so you have a choice to get with it or get left in the dust as your competition brands themselves online.  Whether or not you realize it, you already have an online reputation and employers are using online content as their new background check.  Have you taken control of what’s on the internet?  If you haven’t been concerned, you haven’t been strategic about creating content and you may have things on the web you don’t want employers to see.  If you have nothing, that’s not any better because that only means no one knows about your brand.  So, how do you get started?

7 Steps to Take Control of Your Online Brand?
Hopefully, you see the importance of taking control of your online brand.  That’s the first step.  Here are some things you need to do to take control of your online presence:

  1. Find out what Employers might See on the Web – Google yourself to see what employers might find.  You may have forgotten about an image, a comment, or a tweet you blasted on the web that you don’t want seen.  You can also use which is a very powerful people search engine.  Start by finding out what employers will see.
  2. Review and Cleanse your Online Accounts – Review your social media accounts, your blog, your posts, and anything else you have on the web.  Clean your accounts by deleting unprofessional images, inappropriate comments, or accounts that affiliate you with a group or organization that may be offensive or misunderstood by employers.
  3. Brand Existing Accounts Consistently – For the social media accounts you already have, edit them so that you have consistency across all platforms.  For instance, if your Facebook account profile is your first, middle, and last name, make sure all your social media accounts are branded this way for brand consistency.  Decide how you want to differentiate your brand from others who may have the same name and make that consistent across all platforms.  Do the same with content.  For instance, if you are branding yourself in the Graphic Design field as a Graphic Designer, make sure your content is consistent with that field showing off your portfolio, blogging about Graphic Design, joining groups about Graphic Design, and joining professional associations about Graphic Design.
  4. Claim Open Digital Real Estate – Now that you’ve taken control of your existing online profiles and accounts and made them consistent, go claim your name on accounts and profiles you don’t have before someone else does.  Claim your Google Profile, Facebook, Youtube, VisualCV, LinkedIn, Twitter, About.Me, PeoplePond, Digg, Flickr, Photobucket, Tumblr and whatever other social media account you want to claim.  There are tons so claiming all of them is unnecessary.  Rather, just choose which ones you will use and/or that you care to claim.
  5. Find your Niche – The more focused your niche, the more precise your marketing will be which will improve your reverse job search.  For instance, if you are a Graphic Designer, are you a Graphic Designer specializing in Vector Illustration, T-Shirt Graphics, Product Packaging…..etc. etc.  Fine tune your niche!
  6. Get Involved – You’ve claimed your social media profiles and accounts but now you have to engage with your target audience.  Join LinkedIn groups, blog, comment on existing blogs, tweet, and when you do get active, offer value.  Don’t tweet about what you are eating or make comments no one cares to read.  Be helpful, positive, and insightful but most of all, be focused towards your niche.
  7. Be Creative – Be creative about how you market yourself.  With all the tools available to you, do something unique and it will get attention.

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