Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, or for a company that let you reside blissfully unaware and underground, you may have noticed the importance of developing a digital profile. I hate to be a harbinger, but nobody’s safe. You could be liberated tomorrow. Your company could disappear down an earth splitting crevasse. Or you might feel compelled to quit.
And then, on your personal journey of change, you’ll probably realize that you can’t afford to hire your own PR company.
And after you get tired of licking stamps and churning out the same bs cover letter over and over (and meanwhile becoming more and more paranoid about your skills and achievements)….
Let’s think about this.
Would you hire a marketing person who had never established a presence on Twitter? In 2010? Really? Who didn’t understand Facebook Connect because they “don’t do Facebook?” Really? Who couldn’t tell you what blogs they read? If you couldn’t find a shred of evidence of their professional existence on Google?
Danny Brown’s recent post, Not Right Now, takes on what it means to be a company reluctant to embrace the undeniable reality of social media. His thoughts inspired this post, but I’d like to take it to the individual level.
And this gem from Rocket Watcher’s April Dunford also cuts to the chase about a digital profile being a virtual non-negotiable in this day and age. I really, really like the way she puts it. Awareness is not the same as proficiency, and you can only fool some of the people some of the time.
Whether you’re job hunting, or just exploring the idea that you need to be out there, here are 5 tips for building a digital profile:
1. It’s who you know. If you haven’t begun to develop and cultivate the limitless networking possibilities of LinkedIn, it’s time to give it a try. You can search for friends, colleagues and connections under all of your former employers, your places of education, and through endless group interest areas. On LinkedIn, you are searchable. Think of an online CV, a networking party, a hiring fair, and a judging panel all rolled into one. Your LinkedIn profile (which you must painstakingly craft, and yes, it takes time) can become the hub of your online portfolio, as it can integrate with your website, blogs, Twitter stream and Facebook updates. If you’ve ever created a presentation, you can upload it. Read for professional development? You can list the books you’ve read and intend to read. And much, much more. Just don’t be a big phony faker. Call a spade a spade, and don’t call yourself a dentist unless you’ve pulled a tooth.
2. And speaking of online CVs, it is now unbelievably easy to create a free website for the purpose of promoting yourself and your experience. Yes, a website all about you. Drop and drag chunks of information to create a cohesive story. Add photos, start crafting your thoughts into a blog, and purchase your domain name. I like Weebly, Moonfruit, and Magntize. Be google-able.
3. Try Twitter. Tweets and profiles rank high in search. If you haven’t established a profile because you’re not sure that it makes sense, don’t worry – it will. You can search Twitter for people and topics you’re interested in. And the people who tweet about those topics are your new community, and your potential connections. You have to follow to be followed back, and you have to tweet content that will interest your community. Using HootSuite or Tweetdeck (among many others) can help you organize your areas of interest and passion.
4. Build a trail of breadcrumbs, like Hansel and Gretel. Start commenting on blogs. Don’t be anonymous. Leave your contact email, link your website, and start making connections with the leaders in your industry.
5. Ask for help. Read, read, read. Develop an understanding of how the web has changed business, and how it impacts your particular area of interest. Discover what you like and try to emulate it. Be confident that your experience fits in somewhere, even if the online space is new to you. And don’t be intimidated by anyone who tells you that you’re late to the party. Better late than never, and better to have examined others’ mistakes and learned from them than never taking your first steps.
*UPDATE* I came across visualcv.com, an online resume builder. Serendipity-doo?