This post was originally published on Forbes.
If you’ve heard the term “social resume” floating around recently and wondered what it’s all about, you’re in the right place. A social resume is not so much an actual thing; rather it’s a variety of things. Essentially the term refers to the use of online tools to gain visibility, position yourself as a leader in your field or subject matter, and, ultimately, to get a leg up in the job market.
The wide array of easy-to-use online tools available at minimal or no cost can give any job seeker access to a much bigger audience than ever possible in the past. While these tools aren’t a replacement for the traditional resume, they can be a helpful addition to the job search process.
Here are a few things you should know for tapping into the power of the social resume.
#1. Own Your Name
Over 90% of employers screen for prospective employees online to see what comes up. You want your information and information within your control to land at the top of the search results. Obviously this can be difficult if you have a very common name and you’re a little late to the Internet game.
Everyone should consider purchasing your own name domain (meaning www.FirstNameLastName.com). It’s a cheap investment—typically about $10 — that pays off big time. If your name is already taken, add some words that help brand you and identify your profession or location (for example: JoeSmithWriter.com or JoeSmithDenver.com).
Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn also show up in search results so make sure you use your real name on your profiles — and be sure everything you post is suitable for prospective employers to see.
#2. Create an Online Portfolio
Once you have your domain name, don’t leave it empty. This is a prefect place to house your professional portfolio. Put up samples of your work, your resume, and even a video if you’d like to help you make a personal connection with your website visitors.
If you’re a newbie, there are several easy, low-cost platforms that walk you through the process of creating a website step-by-step. You don’t have to be a tech geek to figure it out. Wherever you buy your domain name will likely offer a simple tool for setting things up. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A few basic pages are all you need.
#3. Start a Blog
Blogs got a bad reputation a while ago. People thought all bloggers lived in their parents’ basements and were writing about what they had for breakfast. These days, the status has changed quite a bit thanks to high-quality blogs that offer insight and education on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to home schooling to politics and more.
Blogging offers a number of benefits. Here are just a few:
- Writing about your area of expertise helps establish you as an authority and thought leader in your field. You can show off your up-to-date knowledge of industry trends and share lessons gained from your experience in the field.
- It demonstrates your writing skills, which employers love to see!
- As far as hobbies go, this is one that shows a variety of appealing skills for prospective employers. Blogging successfully involves consistency and discipline, understanding the latest technology, and at least a certain level of creative capability. A robust, well-done blog can be very impressive.
- Blogging attracts people to you. Every blog post you write creates a new “doorway” through which people may find you in a web search.
#4. Use Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are typically thought of as websites for “personal” use. But you can certainly use them to help promote yourself as a professional too. You can post links to help drive people to your online professional portfolio or your blog. Share information and advice that, again, positions you as an authority in your field. Perhaps even solicit the friends in your network for leads on employment opportunities or valuable connections.
LinkedIn is really the gold standard for online professional networking though. Make sure your profile is up-to-date, accurate and complete. Connect with former colleagues, friends, mentors, leaders in your field, companies you’d like to work for, and more. Be sure to utilize all the special features and capabilities it offers, like groups, endorsements and recommendations.
Finally, remember that about 70% of employers say they’ve rejected job candidates because of what they saw on social media so be careful about what you post. Ignore privacy settings—they change so often and have so many loopholes, you should always assume anything you put online is available for public consumption. Filter every status update by asking yourself this question: “If I knew my future employer would see this, would I still post it?”
Everything prospective employers see or read about you online contributes to their perceptions of your personal brand. These social resume tools will help you connect with more people very quickly, but make certain you’re presenting yourself in the most productive manner for achieving your professional goals.
Drop a comment if you need help in setting up your own website.
*Post culled from Forbes.