There was a time when you could land your ideal job without worrying about your online personal brand. Those days are clearly long gone, but a lot of great candidates are still in the dark about making the most of online tools. Meanwhile, more and more hiring managers use the web to source candidates and make the hire without ever posting the job opening. The web is also the place decision makers go to evaluate you before bringing you in for an interview. It’s the new reference check and is often used to rule out candidates.
Having a profile is not enough. You need to have a profile that gets people interested in you and makes them want to get to know more. Here are five incredibly valuable tools for job seekers. Use them to become visible and to validate what you say about yourself in the real world.
1. LinkedIn Profile: Your LinkedIn profile can help you get found, and it allows decision makers – hiring managers and recruiters – to validate what you say about yourself. It’s often the first place people go when they want to learn about you in a professional capacity. Even if they start at Google, they’ll likely end up at your LinkedIn profile because it will show up at the top of a Google search on your name.
Just having a profile won’t help you stand out. You need to have a stellar profile that helps differentiate from others who seek the same role you desire. Your headline, headshot and summary are the most important elements (along with recommendations that validate what you say about yourself), so focus your energy on those.
2. Personal Domain Name: Having your own domain name shows you are serious about your brand and makes it easy for you to send people to the content you want them to see. And you need not spend a lot of time or money building a custom web site. You can point your domain to your LinkedIn profile, branded.me page or other home on the web – like your YouTube Channel or Twitter profile. You can then add your domain name to the bottom of your emails, the top of your resume and your personal business card.
3. Google Alerts: Google Alerts help you stay on top of when you show up on the web. Create one with your name like this: “First Name Last Name” in quotes. Remember to use the quotes, or you’ll be overwhelmed with notifications for every time your first name and/or last name shows up! Then sit back and let Google notify you when you appear on the web. You can choose how often to be notified, and you can specify the media (blogs, news, web, video, etc.).
4. ZoomInfo: According to David Perry and Mark Haluska, authors of Hiring Greatness, most recruiters use ZoomInfo to source and evaluate candidates. ZoomInfo aggregates content from the various places you show up online and creates a profile for you. This happens automatically. In fact, you likely have a profile even if you have never visited ZoomInfo. But is it accurate? Does it convey what you want people to know about you? The good news is you can go into ZoomInfo, claim your profile, and then refine it to make sure it is correct and compelling.
5. BrandYourself: BrandYourself helps you look better in Google. They analyze your profile or website and then provide specific steps you can take so you can rank higher in search results. They also alert you when significant changes happen to your Google results so you can keep your profile current and relevant.
If you’re looking for a job or want to be the ideal passive candidate, check out these 5 terrific, traffic-generating tools.