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How To Build An Online Job Profile

You need a professional online presence. New to the job market? Over 50? Happy in a secure job? Out of work and looking? Transitioning to a new career? An online job profile is a fundamental responsibility for everyone who is serious about getting or staying employed in this decade. No one gets a free pass on this one. Rich, poor, old, young, working, or looking for a job—cultivating your professional image is essential to your employability.

Thankfully, innovators, keenly aware of the demand, have developed free sites specifically designed to give you a professional online presence. If you use them strategically, you can boost your career prospects and your options with very little effort.

Set Your Sites
LinkedIn.com - Its mission is "to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful."[1] The public seems to approve. With over 500,000,000 registered members, this site is the undisputed king of professional networking. If you are not actively maintaining your LinkedIn account, you are not serious about career advancement.

Facebook.com - Can Facebook help your career? Yes, it can. A professional page keeps your community informed about your skills and experience. You don't want to miss this free, easy platform for professional networking. If you choose to have a personal Facebook page, you may wish to set the privacy settings so that employers or potential clients don't see more of your private life than you would like.

Google+, Twitter, Pinterest - A variety of additional social networking sites provide you with a platform for professional interaction.

Monster.com, Indeed.com, CareerBuilder, and Glassdoor - are recruiting giants that offer platforms to connect people with jobs. They use the web to allow job seekers worldwide to build profiles and find employment. On the flip side, employers can post openings and search for recruits. A catch phrase common to jobs sites is "employment solutions." If you're ready to make the big move to get your talent recognized outside your community, join one or more of these sites to expedite your job search and put you on the career ladder.

Your Blog or Website - Personal blogs or websites related to your professional interests have become increasingly common and beneficial in the hiring process. This one is all about you. You build the site, highlight your proficiencies, and interlink your other online work or presence.

Establish Your Brand
Think of your profile on LinkedIn or your selected site as your first impression. Every piece of your profile deserves purposeful consideration.

Name - Select one name to use for your professional online presence. Are you Jon Doe? Jon T. Doe? Jon Thomas Doe? Jonathan Doe, or JT Doe? It's your choice, but you should choose one name and stick with it. You're branding yourself.

Professional Headline - Your headline might be called your "title" in another situation. It needs to have the right keywords to get you noticed in your chosen field. Job titles on your selected site will work by default, but it's better to reflect on your skills and experience and visualize yourself at your dream job. What will your title be in that career? Market yourself.

Introduction - Professional sites provide a space for you to introduce yourself and describe your experience and goals. Nail this, and you make yourself relatable and interesting. You'll want to balance your professional identity with enough human presence to communicate an image of what you are as a real person. A quick phrase that conveys your love for hiking or the Atlanta Braves may be what keeps you in the memory of an employer who has scanned a hundred profiles.

The headshot - Your profile is not complete without a sharp photo. Look like you're on the job. Similar to the guidelines for your name, you'll want to use this one photo for every professional site. Your image is part of your brand.

Showcase your Skills and Experience
Use numbers - You need numbers attached to your accomplishments. Employers want to see the calculations and timetables for what you have accomplished and for whom you have worked. If you are new to the workforce or making a career change, you may not have big numbers. Look for where you have created a measurable difference on the job or in the community.

Brag a bit - A touch of arrogance is acceptable and even necessary. The other people you're competing with for this position are not being shy about their education, skills, volunteer work, and experiences. Don't stop with bragging about yourself; also include your employer. Show your connection to a successful organization. Do it with style, don't be shy, and don't overdo it, either. You're selling yourself; don't forget it.

Keep it relevant - All professional sites offer space for you to list and describe your work experience. Rethink your education and work history. Find those projects from your past that connect you to your future. Capitalize on the accomplishments that demonstrate how you are right for your chosen career.

Link it up - Connect the elements of your professional online presence. Link your YouTube channel page, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, job site, and personal website. Make it easy for a potential employer to get a quick, thorough, accurate picture of you.

Keep current - A stale online presence is at least as bad as no online presence. Keep your profile updated so that it aligns with your present and with you desired future.

Consider freelancing - Working multiple part-time jobs is no longer an absurd way of life. Freelancer, Upwork, Guru, and PeoplePerHour provide platforms that connect thousands of freelancers and clients daily. Jobs in technology, journalism, education, accounting, and design are abundant on these sites. You may find yourself accepting work considerably below your targeted income to establish yourself, but don't underestimate the value of being able to demonstrate that you are productive in your area of expertise. Nail a few projects and start posting rates that are more in line with your skill set.

Search yourself - Once in a while, you should take the time to run your name through Google, adding a few terms relevant to your profession and location to identify you. Pay attention to what comes up, and look through the eyes of a potential employer. Make adjustments accordingly.

See the whole - Your online identity is not just the one site or profile that you set up to reflect you; it is everything on the internet that is identifiably you. Most sites have privacy settings that allow you to hide material that shows you in a less than professional light, and you may want to use those if there is material online that you like sharing with friends but are less than keen on sharing with a boss or a potential boss!

Watch the competition - No matter what you do, you aren't the only one doing it. Don't obsess over what others are doing but it's a good idea to occasionally have a look at how other players in your niche and related fields are presenting themselves. There's always something to learn!

Wrap It Up
Your online presence is a vital part of your identity in the modern work field. Build a stellar profile that capitalizes on your knowledge, skills, and experience. Update your online presence frequently, and create the image you want to portray. These few basics will be a start to establishing your professional online presence.

Notes