Webster’s dictionary defines identity as, “the state or fact of being a specific person or thing; individuality; or the state of being as described.” Think of the things related to your profession that you excel at. Are you a PR professional, a budding scientist, or a math guru? What is your career identity? Now, what is my online career identity?
According to an article on CareerBuilder, four out of five hiring managers search for job applicants online in an attempt to learn more about that person. This same article also states that anyone, regardless of where you are in your working career, should have a strong online identity. How do you do this?
1. Identify How and Where You Want to Brand Yourself
With today’s social media, you have many avenues in which you can build your online identity. However, don’t try to build your brand on every site. Be specific, and look for those sites that relate to your industry and profession. If you’re an engineer, it won’t do you any good to be a member of Greatest Chef’s of the World.com. Also, if you’re on 100 different social media networking sites, it might send the wrong impression that you don’t understand social networking or that you have too much time on your hands. Keep things relevant to you and your abilities.
2. Create Personal Social Networking Accounts
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Myspace. This list can go on and on. These sites aren’t just for social purposes. They can help enhance your career. On these sites, you can list your interests, education, and employment information. They also allow you to make connections with others in your industry and communicate with each other. You can also update your status which is blasted out to all your connections, keeping them updated about what you’re doing.
These are great tools for sharing information about your industry, learning new skills, and building relationships. But, be careful and keep things professional even though these are social networking sites. One small mistake could ruin the positive image you’re trying to build.
Somewhere online you can find blogs specifically related to your industry or that provide information that interests you. Today, many online business newsletters are in a blog format. Someone posts an announcement or article and you are able to make provide feedback. Take advantage of this and write comments back on those postings. Not only are you sharing your knowledge and building your credibility, but it also gets your name out there to others who are reading the blog. You’re identifying yourself and your expertise.
Social media is ever growing and it changes quickly. Sign up to receive publications from your industry to stay aware of what things are happening in your career field and learn how these types of communication can be applied. When it comes to your career, don’t forget that your number one asset is you. How do you want to be branded?