Executive recruiters and hiring decision makers routinely search for social proof (or online evidence) to corroborate the claims candidates make about themselves in their personal marketing materials (resume, biography, cover letters, etc.)
These people will assess your candidacy and evaluate your personal brand based on what they find about you online.
They want to find as much information about you, and the value you offer, as they can . . . before funneling you into the interviewing/hiring process.
In her post, Your Online Portfolio Influences Hiring Decisions, my colleague Hannah Morgan (CareerSherpa.net) said:
“Humans are curious creatures. And people investigating candidates are no different. If they can uncover information about you that will help them make an informed decision and eliminate risk, they’ll take the bait. It makes their lives easier.”
Having a fully fleshed out LinkedIn profile with plenty of content and activity is a must. If you have an anemic, bare-bones profile, you’re not providing much information at all and you appear to be out of date with the digital age.
But LinkedIn isn’t enough.
Typically, candidates who have a more robust online footprint – with a greater number of diverse search results for “their name” – are more attractive to those who have the power to hire them.
Do You Know What Your Online Presence Looks Like?
Google “your name” right now.
Whatever you find is probably what others will find when they’re assessing you, although search results can vary from one location to another, and one computer to another.
Self-Google about once a week to monitor your search results for digital dirt. Sabotaging information can appear in an instant, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. The sooner you know about it, the sooner you can take steps to delete it, or supplant and bury the bad results with good ones.
There are many ways to expand your online presence, but one of the best ways to fill the social proof gap holding back most executive job seekers is to build a personal website/blogsite.
It’s best to set up your site as a blog, instead of a static website with only a few pages – About/Bio, Resume/Experience, Specialties/Services, Portfolio/Projects, Testimonials/Accolades, Contact.
You’ll need those basic web pages, but also get into the habit of writing posts regularly, say at least a few times a month. Twice a week is a better practice to boost your sites ranking with Google, other search engines, and various ranking sites like Alexa.
How Does a Personal Website Build Your Personal Brand?
As Hannah said, a website makes you more human.
“A resume is a sterile document, often void of personal information that shows your interests, how you process information and what motivates you. Hiring professionals are looking for personal qualities that aren’t easily evident on a resume.”
With the digital age playing a major role in executive job search for at least the past 10 years, every job seeker should by now understand that a great resume alone will not likely get you into that great-fit job.
Resumes come with restraints in length and content, and don’t do the best job in showcasing personality and generating chemistry . . . two big bonuses in personal branding.
As a seasoned executive resume writer, I do get these essentials into my clients’ documents, but there’s just so much I can do, given the limitations.
A personal website or blogsite allows for limitless content to support and build your personal brand, and demonstrate your subject matter expertise and thought leadership.
Think of it this way . . .
Successful job search strategy is much the same as running a business.
Both require targeting, researching that target market, and a marketing strategy that addresses pain points, humanizes the provider, and positions their unique problem-solving expertise.
When you’re sourcing a professional to advise you, or do work on your house, or sell your house, or whatever your need may be . . . who are you more like to take the time to contact and probably hire?
A provider whose name and contact information is listed somewhere without any further info.
Or someone who has a website with plenty of information about what they offer, how they work, who they are, who they work with, testimonials, a blog with helpful advice, etc.?
10 Elements of a High-Quality Blogsite/Website
In her post, Hannah offered tips on creating a high quality website – which will boost viewers’ perception of you as a candidate – as outlined on Quick Sprout, a site that helps grow website traffic.
Relevance & Context – Both humans and computers need to understand what’s on the page.
Content Length – Top websites have 900+ words per page
Images & Video – Pages with images are more engaging
Grammar & Spelling – There’s no excuse for errors. It hurts your credibility
Readability – The easier to read the better. Shorter sentences and eliminate adjectives/fluff.
Formatting – Scannable page with good headers to break up content
Expertise – Shows your expertise/authority on the subject
Social Media Shares – Make your content easy to share and help increase search rankings
Google Internal & External Links – Link to content on your own site and to other valuable sites
Quality of Comments – Good comments help build authority.
Purchase a domain for your name, or a relevant variation, and build out your site.
Once you get your blogsite up and running – with several pages and posts published – get busy leveraging social media to support your candidacy.
5 Tips To Promote Your Website – and Your Personal Brand – on Social Media
1. Each time you publish a new blog post – tweet it, post it on Facebook and your other social media accounts, share it as an update on your LinkedIn profile, and start a conversation with it on your relevant LinkedIn Groups.
2. Repeat the above exercise about once a week, with each of your blog posts.
3. Re-purpose your blog posts, and publish them on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform.
4. Write comments on posts on other relevant blogs, that will link back to your site.
5. Include a link to the site in all your job search marketing materials – email signature, resume, biography, other job search documents, LinkedIn profile, social media bios, business card, etc.