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March 2, 2011
Your Online Profile Is Your Resume
 
This is a new age of job searching. Online profiles are the new resumes, and you need to be able to market yourself effectively. Establishing credibility and visibility in your field—whether you’re looking for a job or not—is essential to building beneficial relationships and elevating your online presence.
 
You already have a personal brand online, whether you know it or not. How, you say? Well, if you’re on Facebook or have a Twitter account or blog, you have an online presence. Your posts, tweets, comments, pictures, everything are the building blocks of your online persona. If you have none of these things, the lack of an online presence is also a brand—and not one you want these days.
 
With changes in technology and communication happening nearly every day, your online career brand is essential to your success! There are a few areas that, together, create your online presence and at which employers look when searching for talent.
 
Your Network 
 
The people you connect with can be one of the most important parts of your online brand. The more relevant people you connect with, the better. When it comes to your professional network, the first place to start is the people with whom you've worked. Being well connected with your colleagues sends a positive message about your working relationships and your level of influence.
 
A good network is as much about quality as quantity, but don’t just go adding people just to add them. Cultivating a network takes time and research, but it’s worth it. Connect with previous employers and colleagues, old professors, and classmates. Find industry professionals you admire or contacts at companies you’d like to work for.
 
Online Profiles
 
Your profiles are often the first thing people see when they find you online. Make your Twitter and LinkedIn pages public. Make the most of an opportunity to make a first impression and ensure that your LinkedIn profile is complete; add your photo, a summary, skills, and specialties. You’ll make it easier for people to find you and look at your important information.
 
Facebook is starting to be used more and more for job searching, so consider making it somewhat public. Allow people to see what you do and other work-related information.  Employment information is now front-and-center on the new Facebook profiles, so put it to good use.
 
Search Results 
 
Establish a baseline knowledge of what information is available about you online—as well as others who share your name. Google your name every so often. What you find may surprise you. Or, establish a Google Alert on your name so you receive results of any mention of you (or those who share your name) that hits the Internet. Avoid being confused with others who share your name by adding your initial or headshot to profiles. Or, if you go by another name, use that name everywhere. 

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Greg Coyle is the co-founder and Director of Product Development at MyWebCareer. For the past year, Greg and his co-founders at MyWebCareer have been working on developing online tools for career professionals that enable you to discover, evaluate, and monitor your professional online brand. You can visit the beta at www.mywebcareer.com.
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