Building your online profile

Your personal brand is the way you present yourself and what you stand for. Your online presence can paint a rich picture of who you are and potential employers will often check your online profiles. They’re likely to form an opinion of you based on what you’ve posted. Nurturing your brand and ensuring it conveys the right image is as important as having a well-written CV.

Using social media for professional purposes can set you ahead of your competitors in the application process. If carefully managed, it could boost your career prospects.

Equally, you don’t want to ruin those prospects by having inappropriate pictures or views available for potential employers to see.

Your online profile in search results
The easiest way to check your online presence is to do a search for your name. See what content appears and how accurate it is. You might find that there are no results for your name, or that there are thousands of others with the same name as you. Try adding your location too, just to double check what comes up.

If you find any articles or photographs you’d rather others didn’t see, contact the website hosting the content and ask them to take it down.

Your personal social networking
There’s nothing wrong with using social networking sites while looking for a new job. The key is to use them sensibly.

You can change your settings to make your personal accounts private, for example on Facebook search and newsfeeds. Remove any links and references that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.

On the other hand, engaging in discussions on Twitter or LinkedIn and showing you’re knowledgeable about hot topics in your chosen industry can work in your favour.

Plus, Facebook and Instagram can be great marketing tools if you’re starting your own business. Think about setting up a new page just for your work, keeping your personal account separate.

Your LinkedIn profile
The most popular professional social networking site is LinkedIn. You can keep an up-to-date profile based on your career experience: a bit like a virtual CV. It’s often the top result when you search for a name in Google. Employers use it to find or assess potential candidates. It’s also a great way to build a network.

Here’s a short guide to nailing the basics:

  • Your profile photo: Make sure you are using an up-to-date, professional looking profile picture. It’s important that potential employers and colleagues can recognise you from your picture on LinkedIn and other professional networking sites, as this will help them to recall you.
  • Using keywords: As well as listing all your relevant experience, there’s the opportunity to present yourself in a short summary. This makes it easy for potential employers to see your experience, key strengths, skills and passions, and whether it matches what they’re looking for. Adding some relevant keywords and phrases to this summary will ensure that you show up in relevant searches within the platform. For example, if you are looking for a role in the tourism industry, weaving the phrases like ’customer care’ and ‘travel logistics’ can help. 
  • Making connections: Having a presence on LinkedIn and other professional networking sites will enable you to build a professional network online, keeping up where your connections work and what topics they’re engaging with. Send connection requests to individuals you’d like to keep in touch with, such as old colleagues, individuals you meet at relevant networking events and peers. You never know who might be advertising your next dream role. 
  • Join the conversation: Improve your visibility on LinkedIn by updating your status, showing others that you’re interested in and knowledgeable about your chosen field. Demonstrate your expertise around a topic by posting about it regularly, or post links to interesting articles you’ve read, with a professional comment alongside them. Your updates will be shown on your profile and on the newsfeed everyone you’re connected to.

Network site checklist

  • Why not give your profile a boost over the next week? Run through our checklist of ‘must-haves’ for your profile
  • Upload a recent, professional headshot
  • List your relevant career experience
  • Include keywords and phrases in your summary statement
  • Build your professional network
  • Update your status

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