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Career tips: build your brand online

4 min, 29 sec read
16:30 PM | 21 March 2014
by Adam Oldfield
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These days an employer can find out everything there is to know about you with a few key strokes. For better or for worse, Google allows anyone to know everything about anything and employers will use that power.

This isn't a lecture to keep your Facebook profile clean and devoid of drunken, road sign stealing antics (although you should probably do that too). Instead, think about what brand you present when someone looks you up.

How you portray yourself online demonstrates what you can bring to an employer and their team. The better you display yourself, the more they'll understand how well you might fit within their team and if your skills would be of value to them and their clients.

Starting off

Firstly, clear your cookies and cache (so Google doesn’t know who you are) and do a simple search for your own name. You’ll be surprised where you name appears and make sure to so the same for Google images, it’s the first place most employers will look.

"Clear your cookies, cache and do a simple search for your own name."

Remove what’s not good and politely ask people to take stuff down if needs be, especially if friends have tagged you in something unsavoury.

Your domain

It’s important to have a domain that personifies you. It may be as simple as your first name, full name or a nickname that’s come to represent you.

More about your site below but once you’ve got it setup make sure to add a description for Google that appears alongside your link and add keywords into your website that best describes your talents.

Having a blog

Blogs can be both wonderful and woeful. If you have one make sure to keep it full of ideas, your work and things you love. It’s another shop front of yours that will help anyone instantly get a glimpse into your life and personality, two important things employers look for in new hires.

"Talk about what your work solved, hurdles you had to overcome, and what elements failed."

But if you start a blog after seeing what someone else has done, or being told you must have one, hold tight and use your time wisely elsewhere. Keeping blogs can be great but updating them can quickly become a burden and a dusty old blog does more damage than good. So if your can't keep up, don't have one. Show off your personality with a Twitter feed or simple website instead.

Your website

If you have a LinkedIn profile, Behance, Cargo Collective or another site showcasing your work or experience, keep it up-to-date with everything you have done.

There are plenty of free website tools out there such as Tumblr, Cargo Collective and Word Press to get decent themes that can be spruced up slightly with some CSS/HTML. Don’t be scared by a little coding, we’ve outlined the best resources to learn code for free and it won’t take you long.

"Keeping your online presence updated sends impressive signals out to employers about your abilities, organisation and eagerness to work."

People have short attention spans so keep things up front and simple. The longer it takes for someone to discover the nitty gritty, the more likely they'll give up on you and look for someone else who fits their needs.

Now for the content, include a bit about who you are, what you like to do and your experiences in a well designed manner. Few people ever do this but talk about what your work solved, hurdles you had to overcome, and what elements failed. Being able to evaluate your own work shows your perceptive ability – important for working in any job, any place.

Make sure to include a download of your CV or simple page detailing your key past jobs and work experience. Employers always want to see what you have done in the past and that two/four week bit of experience somewhere could seal you a job.

"If you’re sloppy online, employers may think you’ll be like that at work."

Your main website should contain everything you have online, so if you have a blog incorporate that within the site instead of keeping it separate. Or if you have built up a solid presence on a different url make sure to link to and link back from the blog. Include links to all your social media profiles so people can quickly discover your other online identities.

Here are some great examples of websites that are very simple but entice and show instantly what these guys are capable of: Frank Chimero, Jacob & Jim and Nate Navasca.

Keep it updated

Whether it’s your online profiles, your website or searching your name in Google every few months, look after your online presence. It’s a small job that can be worked on over time and refined, instead of having to spend a chunk of time each year or when looking for a new job. Even if you’re in a job already you could be poached by another company, for a better role.

Your online brand will evolve over time. Keeping your online presence updated sends impressive signals out to employers about your abilities, organisation and eagerness to work. And if you’re sloppy online, employers may think you’ll be like that at work.

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