Create an Online Persona to Get Hired1

Current Job Search Trends
Long gone are the days when you get hired by mailing out resumes on cream-colored paper.

With the job market tightly wound these days, you need to digitally stand out from the rest. Here are a few tips on creating your online persona so you can get hired.

Learn How to Market Yourself Online
The job hunt rules have radically changed from years past. You have to learn how to market yourself online, which involves posting an attractive resume as well as polishing your online presence, and cleaning up your reputation.

The latest news indicates that 83 percent of executive recruiters use search engines to find out all they can about those who have applied for a position with their company. Do not be fooled – you will be Googled ! It is the new reference check.

In fact, you can start by Googling yourself (put your name in the google search and enclose it in quotation marks). You might be surprised what pops up first, second or third. Hopefully it sheds a positive light in your direction.

Did it bring up a video of you and your friend that was a blast putting together just for fun? How about news clips (hopefully nothing unlawful). Perhaps your Google results do show nothing at all. You need to fix that. Also, if you have joined twitter, facebook or other sites, what might a prospective employer be able to discover about you?

If you take advantage of the opportunity to improve your online presence, it may just land you that dream job you have been hoping for. So, here are a few tips on getting your digital job search information up to par and even compelling, if you will.

Your Resume

The best source of new jobs come from web sites. In fact, 32 percent of external hires come from online job boards, in comparison with 27 percent from referrals. So, just to be safe, you should prepare your resume in three formats: word or .doc, pdf, and .txt.

There are plenty of online application forms where you can cut and paste your work history right out of Word. Make sure that you use a universal font which reproduces well on any computer. These include Arial and Times New Roman. Have a smart friend make sure that your document opens properly on different computer systems just to be safe.

You can take your Word document and then convert your resume to a PDF file. This format opens on both PC and Mac without changing the format. You can use Adobe Acrobat to change it or use a free converter from cutepdf.com.

Lastly, use Word to save your third resume version as unformatted text or .txt file which can be opened by simple applications like Notepad. Do a save as…..plain text or text only. This eliminates the invisible coding that Word documents contain in case you have to cut and paste it into an online form.

Objective lines on a resume are no longer appreciated – instead use a summary of qualification, or even better an executive summary. This is where you expound on what makes you distinctive. Whereas an objective focuses mainly on what you want to get from a certain position, an executive summary will focus on what you can contribute to the mission of the company. It could also shed light on your strengths in problem solving or communication skills.

If you have been out of work for a while, consider writing a skills-based resume or functional resume which will point out your proficiencies instead of giving your work history. If you have been employed consistently, you can write the common chronological resume. If your age is higher than the mean you may want to leave off your college graduation dates.

Your E-Mail Address

krazyjohn@gmail.com might have seemed clever at one time, but you would do much better to get yourself an email address that is more professional. Usually first.last@yahoo.com is sufficient. If you have a professional blog or website, you can include them as part of your contact information.

Your Photo

Some recruiting companies find a photo on your resume to be unprofessional. It would be better if you can direct the reader of your resume to your LinkedIn page or Web site where one is posted. Make sure your photo speaks energy and dignity.

Your Own Website

Your personal URL should convey a positive message about your level of success. It should be different from what is on your resume. It should have case studies, multimedia clips, customer testimonials or other demonstration of your skills and reputation.

If possible, buy and register a domain name that uses your own name – JohnBradford.com. You can search for unclaimed URLS at Register.com or GoDaddy.com which may cost you $20 or so a year.

Then you will need a Web hosting service like GoDaddy.com or Homestead.com (about $20 a month or less). They have technical support that are very helpful to get you set up.

If you have experience, you can build a site yourself with template software. Homestead.com has a Sitebuilder, but the most important thing is that is looks professional. If you prefer, you can hire someone who does Web sites all the time. They usually can add photos, text, multimedia files and design it for you. If you have found a site that you particularly like, you could point them to it as an example.

Having a designer create your page could cost you up to $500 or more depending on their experience. Be sure you are not held hostage by your Webmaster. They may say that they are the only ones that can update it, and then you are stuck paying them for every little change. A good web designer will provide you with the tools to edit it yourself. Ask them right up front before they have created your site.

An adequate professional site should have at least three pages:

Introduction (includes a brief summary of your experience)
Detailed Bio
Evidence of your Performance (awards, testimonials, work samples).
Include your contact information, including your e-mail address and a physical address.


Your web site is useful for listing your accomplishments, but a blog can show that you are involved in and stay up to date in your particular field. Blogs are now easy to set up with sites such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com. They have improved the blogging software, and they are generally easy to use. Once you start a blog, be sure to add content on a regular basis, linking to important sites and commenting on business related news.

For more on marketing yourself online go to the next hub.


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