If you’re interviewing with a company that is in the least bit reputable, that hiring manager is going to Google your name. Now, unless your name is Marie Smith, the good news is that you can indirectly communicate with them via the web and ace your interview before you even walk in the door.
With enough hard work, you can control (to an extent) what appears on the first page when someone looks you up in the main search engines. Here’s the who, what, where, when and how of branding yourself as a marketing expert online to any prospective employer:
1. A Professional Headshot is Key: By “professional” I am not referring to paying a photographer $1,500 for a photo shoot (dig deep enough on the web and you can get a headshot for under $100). No matter what you spend, even $50, know that an iPhone shot will have the opposite of the desired effect.
“Make sure that you like the photographer’s work prior to engaging him or her, and you shouldn’t have to pay over $350 for a professional headshot that you could utilize for online branding purposes,” says Michael Benabib, a veteran NYC photographer and owner of Executive Photos NYC.
2. Starting a WordPress Blog. There is nothing better than having a blog that you fully control rank highly when a prospective employer Googles your name. Here’s how to do so:
Go to wordpress.com and sign up for a free WordPress account. Note that for it to be free, you have a .wordpress.com url. If your name is Bradley Whatever, your blog is bradleywhatever.wordpress.com. Also register a separate Gmail address for your blog, as this will play a part in author rank. Because your name is in the domain, this increases the chances your name’s higher search rank.
While I can’t explain how to program WordPress in a 500 – 800 Word article, you should have separate pages dedicated to: your resume; a your social media accounts; an About page; and a contact page.
Have a focus and display your expertise in that area through your posts. After that, it’s wherever creativity takes you. Keep in mind, WordPress takes practice, though when you have a well-written, frequently updated blog, you control what employers see when searching, rather than being fearful they’ll find information you’d rather keep confidential.
3. Starting a Twitter Account: Once you have your blog, set up a Twitter account for sharing your posts and articles in your field.
This will increase readership on your blog, increase your Twitter followers, and will display a keen ability to implement complex, professional social media campaigns. Moreover, since Twitter allows a description and link to your blog, odds rise of the blog ranking higher when employers Google your name. Additionally you can put, “All things marketing and social media. Marketing expert based in New York City.”
4. Google+ Account: Google+ is the most beneficial, under-utilized social media avenue that can convey a strong online brand and catch employers’ attention. For any job seeker, Google+ has a plethora of benefits. These include:
a. Author rank: Author rank determines how Google rates your content and where it ranks you in the search engines when hiring managers or recruitment firms search your name. The scale starts at 0 and increases with popularity of an author.
Coming to a prospective employer with high author rank automatically increases their chances at successful search engine optimization and social media efforts, increasing your net worth to the hiring organization.
b. Your picture showing up next to your blog: When you link your Google+ account to your blog and the recruiters or hiring managers search your name, a professional picture will appear right next to your blog.
5. Starting a Facebook Account for Your Blog. Once you have the other social media facets up, it’s time to create a Facebook account for your blog. Like Google+, Facebook gives you a strong avenue to share your content with the public, increase readership, thus increasing the odds of your blog and headshot coming up in the first page of search results.
6. LinkedIn Account: LinkedIn, like Google+, allows you to combine your social media profiles and your blog. If you don’t have extensive intern experience, you can note your blog as a position, as well as link for potential employers when visiting your LinkedIn account.
By joining groups relevant to your blog topic, you gain recognition and further network in the field when sharing your content.
In the End
Across these platforms, the professional headshot is tying your image together in the employer’s mind, thus creating a brand for yourself not unlike a logo does for a company. Creating that right first impression and carrying it from platform to platform hooks in employers and keeps them positively disposed to you as they peruse your social media presence.
Hopefully you were already thinking about employers Googling you, insofar as keeping certain activities off the web entirely. More rare is proactively using free online tools at your disposal. You effectively set yourself apart by going this route, and should see your job interviews and offers skyrocket as a result.
I am the CEO of KAS Placement, an executive search firm based out of New York City; you can read more of my articles here.