Monthly Archives: November 2011

Building a strong professional presence online!!

I am finally at the stage where I am about to leave the safety of the University and join the real world called the workforce. As exciting as it maybe I want to make sure I get a job that is challenging at the same time satisfying. To attain this goal it is important that I take the time to make my online presence presentable.

In this post I shall give you a few steps on how to create an online presence that you can use to market your skills and achievements.

Step 1: Create a Resume

You need to take the time to sit down and work on this for a few hours. Make sure you run through your employment history and note down the key things you learned at these jobs and the daily tasks you did. It is important to add the things you learned to your skills list and also list the tasks you were assigned and completed. This post will not cover resume creation. You can find helpful guides for this online.

Step 2: Create a LinkedIn Profile

 

One of the best ways to network as you start looking at prospective employers is LinkedIn. Create a profile and add details to it. LinkedIn gives you the ability to import details straight from your resume. If you completed Step1, this process will be very simple.

Creating a LinkedIn profile does not end your job. It is a little more complicated. The next step is to build connections. This will take time but you can always take the step to go out and find people you know and connect with them. It is also important to know that connecting on LinkedIn is not the same as becoming a friend on Facebook. You do not have to be close friends to connect on LinkedIn. An acquaintance or a person you have met as part of you career related works are all possible connections. For example, if you went and talked to a Company representative at a Career Fair, I would recommend you add him on LinkedIn. To find people you know LinkedIn provides the ability to search through your email contacts and find people that are on LinkedIn. You can also find acquaintances under ‘People You May Know’ at the top right hand corner of the LinkedIn Home Page.

At this point another thing that you should know is that this is not something you can do for once and be done with. It requires constant attention. You need to give it time everyday. So learn to enjoy it. You can learn a lot while improving your presence online.

Now I would recommend that you go to the Companies link on the navigation bar and search for the companies you like and start following them. This will give you updates and when in the future if you do end up looking for a job at one of these companies, you will have enough background knowledge about their recent achievements.

You can also go under Groups and find things you are interested in. This could be a particular programming language or a database etc. These groups are like forums, you can get support, provide support for others etc. Some members of the group may post jobs related to the group. So in one step, you can get help from others, provide help and maybe even find a job in that field.

At this point you should start seeing updates on your homepage. This could be updates about your connections, news or articles your connections have posted, and also the trending news updates. These can help you get updated on the daily things happening in your fields.

Step 3: Creating a Blog/Webpage

Creating a blog is simple, but is not for everyone. If you ever find yourself eager to share things with others and status updates are not enough but want to make it more elaborate, I would recommend having a personal blog or website. The purpose of the blog is not to have large amount of traffic but have an outlet for your ideas and thoughts. At the same time you can make your blog/website readable and interesting for the oncoming traffic which will over time increase traffic.

Some of the common blog hosts are

 

 

 

 

But you do not have to limit yourself to the above ones.

The most important thing that you need to do once you decide to make a blog, is to dedicate time to update it frequently. Create a schedule or a pattern. It could be daily, or once a week or once a month. Now the readers know when there will be updates. A reader might visit a blog up to 2 times before forgetting about it, if there are no new posts.

If you want this to be a personal blog, make sure to have an About section that describes you and the reason for the blog. It will give the audience a personal connection to you. It is also important to make sure that the posts in your blog are your own material and if outside material is used, it is well cited.

Once you have a blog that has enough steady postings and updates from you, it can then be linked to your LinkedIn profile, under the personal websites. This will give any employer interested in you a better perspective of your interests and achievements.

If you are in the computer field, and have some experience in website design and hosting, I highly recommend having your own website. Feel free to have more than one, but do not link more than two or three with your LinkedIn account.

Maintenance

Now that you have a basic structure setup, it is important to keep using them, updating your LinkedIn profile, connecting with new people you meet ( I cant tell you how useful some of these connections will become in the future), staying informed about the companies you like, the trending news in your fields, posting frequently to your blogs and websites etc. Besides providing a great first impression to your employer, these can help you stay connected to the newest trends in your field and keep track of your own progress over time.

Hope this post helps. As always, let me know if you recommend any changes to this post or if you have any questions.