Strategies to optimize your online identity

With the advent of electronic résumés and the ability to search the Internet, companies and recruiters are becoming more proactive in searching out top candidates, rather than waiting for good candidates to contact them.

Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” (John Wiley & Sons,, says, “Having a strong web presence is a great way to differentiate yourself. You’ll stand-out as a tech-savvy, smart self-marketer.”

Myers suggests implementing the following six strategies to optimize your online identity:

1. Own your name. Register a domain in your own name – From here, you can build a website, establish an online career portfolio or create a blog, all of which will be easily searchable by your name.

2. Write your way to the top. Develop a professional career website that includes your professional biography, accomplishment stories, and other credentials. A job search blog can act as an online journal where you share your professional expertise, opinions and resources.

3. Upgrade your résumé to the online world. Internet technology enables your career management strategy to include a visual and engaging portfolio about your career. Include links to companies for which you’ve worked, significant career achievements, your articles, presentations, case studies, recommendations, references and awards.

4. Move your contact list online. Use Facebook or LinkedIn to establish a visible and searchable professional profile. Once this is done, leverage these social media web sites to expand your network, build more connections, and increase your visibility.

5. Keep your online identity clean. Remain constantly vigilant about what you do and say that could end up on the Internet. In today’s world, people are always listening and cameras are always on, so beware.

6. Track your online identity. Set up a “Google Alert” to notify you each time your name is featured on the Internet. Monitor what is being said or written about you, and track any changes in your online identity.

“Your online identity is a form of capital, much like your intellectual capital and financial capital. To that end, it can be grown slowly and steadily over time, which will eventually produce the positive results you want,” Myers said.

While Facebook and other social networking sites can be powerful tools in your job search, beware of content that condemns.

According to a CareerBuilder survey released last week, 39 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 37 percent last year. Forty-three percent of those hiring managers say they have found information that has caused them not to hire a candidate, up 9 percentage points from 2012.

What turns off employers the most?

• Candidate posted provocative/inappropriate photos/information – 50 percent.

• There was information about candidate drinking or using drugs – 48 percent.

• Candidate bad mouthed previous employer – 33 percent.

• Candidate had poor communication skills – 30 percent.

• Candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc. – 28 percent.

• Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent.

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