By Nikita Garia
To get ahead in your career, it’s becoming increasingly important to establish a strong online presence.
Dibyangshu Sarkar/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Don’t slack. Differentiate yourself with a strong Web presence.
It’s no longer enough to just post your resume on job Web sites like Naukri.com and Monster.com to get the attention of recruiters. That’s just step one.
Increasingly, headhunters and human resources executives are scouring through candidates’ presence on the Internet, such as blogs and social media accounts, to figure out whether they fit various job profiles.
In the United States, some companies have asked candidates to send links to their “Web presence,” like their blog or Twitter account, instead of resumes when applying for jobs.
While India may be years away from that, experts say it’s smart to start building your Internet presence early.
Priyanka Sachar, a 34-year-old photographer, can attest to how social media can help propel a career. In 2009, she left her job at a software company to pursue her hobby as a full-time career. She showcased her pictures on photo-sharing website Flickr and through videos on YouTube, and became an active micro-blogger on Twitter.
“I used social media to promote my work and also got connected to photographers on Facebook,” says Ms. Sachar. Now, she has a thriving business.
Here, Ms. Sachar and other social media experts and recruiters share tips on how you can use the Internet to build an online brand for yourself.
1. Be fresh:
Many professionals upload their resumes on job websites or open accounts on professional sites like LinkedIn.com, but soon forget about them. Big mistake.
“Recruiters may take decisions based on your outdated profile,” says Hari Krishnan, country manager of LinkedIn Corp.’s India unit.
Make it a point to periodically update your professional information on the Internet.
2. Be active:
It is easy to disappear in the vast web of online content, so you have to make an effort to stay visible.
To do this, regularly update your blog or Twitter feed, and participate in online groups and forums relevant to your industry.
Recruiters often troll through such forums when they are looking for candidates, says Sunil Goel, director of Delhi-based executive search firm GlobalHunt India Pvt. The more active you are, the more likely you are to get noticed, says Mr. Goel.
So when you participate in forum discussions, think carefully about what you write. If you answer a question on an online forum, and there is a provision for rating, it will show up on your profile, says Pradeep Chopra, chief executive officer of Digital Vidya, a company that provides training in digital marketing.
3. Be interesting:
To build your credibility and attract readers, you need to make the content on your blog or other networking sites catchy.
Ideally, the content should be a good mix of your work, your thoughts and updates on the latest developments in your industry.
“If I keep tweeting about my work all the time, nobody would like to interact with me,” says Ms. Sachar. At the same time, she makes sure that the content she puts up isn’t full of “I, me, myself.”
So, besides her work-related thoughts, she shares views on current affairs, places she has traveled to, and other things she notices around her.
4. Be selective:
Who you are connected to reflects your “professional brand,” says Mr. Krishnan of LinkedIn.
So be selective about who you network with online. It’s best to decline requests from strangers who are unrelated to your profession, since you are unlikely to interact with them.
The quality of your contacts matters more than the quantity.
When possible, use your network to take your professional relationship to the next level.
For instance, if you have a good relationship with a client or a manager, ask him or her to give you an online recommendation, say on LinkedIn or other such site.
From a recruiter’s perspective, recommendations from your clients make a better impression than accolades from a colleague.
5. Be careful:
Unless you have strict privacy settings in place, your presence on social media sites can be easily accessed by a much larger audience.
So, watch what you say.
Discrediting your company, managers or colleagues on online forums could jeopardize your image not only within the company but also with outsiders, says Mr. Goel.
Check your company policy on the use of social media, if they have any. In general, it’s best not to publish company-specific information that is not in the public domain.
Also, refrain from openly disclosing on the Internet that you are looking for a new job while you are still working because that “could spoil your relation with your present employer,” says Mr. Goel.
Readers, how do you use social media to your professional advantage? Let us know in the Comments section.
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