By Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers, a job search and social media strategist, career coach, resume writer, author, and speaker, August 12, 2012
Getting noticed online requires a unique combination of strategies. On one hand, it seems logical to make your profiles all about you. On the other hand, the content needs to appeal directly to people who may hire or refer you for jobs. Here are some things to do to make sure you’ll get noticed online:
Include a picture. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the way you look, remember – your online profiles are not only about you; they are about getting noticed by people who may help you land a job. Including a photo – of you, not your dog, your child, a QR code, or your cartoon character stunt double – helps prove you are a real person to everyone who may view your profiles.
Use the same close-up, clear photo in every network. Do not wear distracting jewelry or clothing (avoid leopard prints). Importantly, a picture is actually a required part of a complete LinkedIn profile. Having a picture in your LinkedIn profile may inspire someone to click through to learn more about you. Krista Canfield, LinkedIn’s Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, said, “Folks who have a photo are seven times more likely to have their profile viewed in general than folks who don’t have a photo.” Leave a photo off your profiles at your own risk.
Use keywords. Make it easy for prospective hiring managers to find your profiles by identifying keywords – words people are using to search for someone like you – and incorporating them into your online bios. Don’t select keywords randomly; do some research: study job descriptions, your target companies’ websites and online content, and talk to as many people as possible. Become familiar with the lingo and buzzwords they use, and don’t forget to incorporate acronyms as well as the complete words and phrases.
Write your pitch. It’s up to you to let people know what you offer – as it relates to their needs. Once you identify what skills and accomplishments matter most to your target audience, you can include an appealing pitch in your profiles. For example, in Twitter, you have 160 characters in your bio to inspire readers to want to learn more; every word counts. Include keywords and accomplishments before adding in personal details. Rely on your keyword research and create a short tagline to generate interest in you.
Be consistent. Be aware – if someone is viewing one of your online profiles, he or she is probably looking at the others. Make sure to list job titles consistently across profiles and match them with your resume. You don’t want to raise any red flags by sharing inconsistent facts.
Post complete information. Every bit of data you provide about yourself is another chance for someone to find you. List all of your jobs and fill in details about your background on all of the networks you use. Use content from your complete LinkedIn profile to fill in the “work and education” sections on Facebook, and don’t forget to include the same information on your Google+ profile, too. Savvy recruiters are using all available avenues to source quality candidates. Improve your chances of being found by fully completing your profiles.
Showcase your expertise. Social networks offer much more than a place to post a bio; they allow you to highlight your expertise. Take advantage of this functionality: share links to news stories relevant to people in your field, showcase your own opinions via updates and tweets, and engage in dialogues online with decision makers and influencers in your field. This helps you expand your network, learn new things, and be found.
Highlight your personality. While the majority of what you include in your online profiles and updates should focus on your professional goals, it’s useful to let some of your personality show. You’d be surprised by how many people may respond to stories about your pet, your vacation nightmare, or your favorite sports team. Sprinkle in personal updates once in a while, and be sure to engage in online “conversations” with people you want to know. This helps people get to know you better, and the more you engage and interact, the more likely they’ll refer you to a job. Two caveats: do not post political or religious content (unless it is specifically relevant to your target audience), and don’t include personal details at all in your LinkedIn updates.