By Jeff Herzog President, FPC National
In the digital age, job seekers have become a lot like companies in that their digital presence will often determine their success. Just as consumers analyze brands’ websites, social media content, and credentials before making a decision, so do employers when seeking a candidate to hire. This is especially true in the Era of Coronavirus, as in-person interviews have been replaced by other means.
Building a powerful and professional digital presence is not difficult, and yet, such a small percentage of job seekers do it effectively. If you are looking for a way to stand out in a crowded job market, there are several ways you can gain a competitive edge.
Do LinkedIn the Right Way
Just because you have an account, a basic profile, and 100 connections on LinkedIn, it does not mean that you are using the platform for your optimal benefit. LinkedIn cannot just be an afterthought in your job search; it must be the cornerstone of your communication platform. View LinkedIn as your personal website. This is where you have the opportunity to capture the attention of a prospective employer.
Three components are needed for an effective LinkedIn presence:
Your “About” section is your best opportunity to demonstrate your value to a prospective employer. Your goal is to provide a powerful synopsis of your top accomplishments, experiences, and abilities. Don’t count on employers scrolling all the way through your profile to read every job you have listed. Capture their attention in the summary and that will make them eager to read more. Focus on results rather than responsibilities whenever possible. Your summary should also contain keywords relevant to your industry so that recruiters are more likely to find you.
It’s worth mentioning that only the first couple of lines of your summary are visible before you have to click to see more, so make sure you start off with a bang.
Once you have created a profile you are proud of, it’s time to start building up your network. Through searches, you can find recruiters in your field and others who can be beneficial in your quest for a new job. When you extend a connection invitation to someone, there is a good chance that they will review your profile.
People who post content on LinkedIn are often seen as “thought leaders” in their field. If you make a habit of posting about recent developments or best practices in your industry, you are increasing your visibility and promoting your expertise.
Create a Professional Website
Ready to bump up your digital game to the next level? Consider developing your own website. In just a few hours, you can position yourself ahead of your competition by creating a site that showcases your value, achievements, and point of view.
Not only does your own website separate you from the crowd, but it is also a dedicated digital space that focuses on *you* exclusively; whereas on LinkedIn, recruiters have access to your competition in just one click. Another advantage is that you can design and lay out your site any way you like. Enhance your achievements with photos, presentations, or even videos. You can also have a separate tab for “Success Stories,” “Projects,” or “Testimonials” (recommendations).
These days, you don’t need to know how to code or hire a developer to create a simple website. There are easy-to-use tools and apps available to guide you through the process. Start by purchasing a URL (website address). Ideally, you want a web address that ends in “.com.” See if “YourName.com” is available. If not, try adding an appropriate abbreviation after your name, such as “YourNameEsq.com,” “YourNameCFO.com,” or “YourNameNY.com.”
Sites like GoDaddy.com and Wix.com, among others, offer low-cost options for the services you will need, including buying your domain name (your website address), creating your website, and hosting your website.
You have many options for content on your website. Start with the basics: Post your resume. Remember, this is a public website, so you may not want include certain details that you might normally include on your resume. You can also upload other media to your site to provide employers with more tangible expressions of your achievements. Include case studies or special projects to provide employers with additional details about your achievements.
Write Thought Leadership Articles
Writing professional articles is a terrific way to showcase your expertise, insights, and professional opinions. You can then publish these articles on LinkedIn or your own professional website.
Articles should be a minimum of 300 words, but can run as long as 1,000 words or more if you have in-depth insights to share on a particular subject. Your topics should be timely, relevant, and focus on key issues in your industry. Provide expert tips, strategies, unique viewpoints, or innovative ideas.
The good news about job searching in the digital age is that so much of it is your control. If you’re seeking an edge in the job market, focus on taking charge of your digital presence, increasing your online visibility, and expanding your social network.