I just came across a great resource for expanding your active, and positive, digital footprint for the purposes of job hunting.
The website, VisualCV.com, provides a network for you to really bring your experience and expertise to life. Yes, it is another site to maintain, but it does serve an important role among your existing social networks and professional sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, etc.
I found VisualCV through a webinar. Save an hour of your life and just read the details below. The presenter, Karen Masullo, noted that the key to Web 2.0 and job hunting is transparency in the tools you use, and the information you communicate with those tools. “You are brand you” is what she says (cute right?) so it is important to be aware of the way you are representing yourself online.
I have outlined similar steps before, but these are much clearer and more action oriented:
1) Search yourself (on Google, Yahoo, and so on). Find out what Dirt is out there on you. Is it positive or negative? It is too personal, or not personal enough? Also make sure to search nicknames, alternate spellings of your name, your email address, and even you social security number (I added that last tip).
2) Create new valuable content to push down the bad search results (if they exist). She says you need a sound “organic search strategy [SEO].” Duh. Easier said than done. I think she means this: where ever you are creating an active footprint online, you need to use terms that relate your area of expertise so you get credit for them in organic search. Linking those closely to your name should do the trick (I think so anyway).
3) Market yourself:
- Have a 90-second “elevator speech” prepared [in writing] and make sure you are communicating what makes YOU special
- Have a VisualVC (I think she threw that in there because, well, it was a VisualCV.com webinar)
- Have a LinkedIn profile
- Keep a blog (um, check)
- Use Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook, etc, etc, etc. I think she means to say here: “have a freakin’ presece online.”
So what is a VisualCV? It’s a neat little way to keep your professional experience up to speed for everyone to see. She calls it a “perminate professional archive of your work history.” Check mine out here! You should update it often, even every few days. You might be thinking, “isn’t that what LinkedIn is for?” That’s what I thought too. But she delineates between the two: LinkedIn is for networking and highlighting your overall experience, education, and so on. A VisualCV is for keeping a running tab on your work. AND it is more visual, as the name suggests. You have the opportunity on VisualVC.com to add video of your work, PDFs, letters of recommendation, association and corporate logos, etc.
The important thing to note is that you need to tie all the pieces of your professional digital footprint together. Links to and from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and you VisualCV are important because each should serve a different and specific purpose.
Blatantly obvious tip that you should have learned in high school (unless the internet didn’t exist then) is to have an email address that resembles Firstname.Lastname@whatever.com. Not firstname.lastname@example.org