How to build your online reputation without social media networks or your own blog.
This is a guest post by Danielle McGaw. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
It is common knowledge today that employers are using the search engines to find out more about their potential employees than they could ever legally ask in an interview.
They can find out more about you than you might realize.
Ever posted something stupid on a forum?
Or how about posted pictures of your wild weekend in Mexico?
Or maybe you made a YouTube video ranting about the job you just got fired from.
Employers can find all of that and more and it is should be part of your job search strategy to make sure that your online reputation is a positive one.
You can influence your online reputation by keeping a career blog or using social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, very beneficial if you do it right.
But what if you don’t want to do things? You might not have the incentive to blog regularly or you might not understand Twitter.
If you don’t like social media or you don’t want to be bothered with keeping up a blog, these are some of the other ways you can have a positive effect on your online presence:
1. Create an About.me page
About.me is a profile page and this should be your first step.
Write a summary about yourself and add links to places you want employers to find you online.
This is the place that you are going to point all of your other online efforts toward because you can include your email on this page and allow employers to contact you.
Since you'll use this page instead of a blog or web site, it needs to be perfect so here are a few tips:
- DO include a picture. People feel more connected to you when they can see what you look like. Choose a clear and simple face shot. Make sure there is a little bit of color in it and make sure that you are not wearing something low cut or off the shoulder to avoid looking like you’re naked.
- DON’T include links to any social networks if you are not using them professionally. In other words, if you swear even once in awhile or bash anyone, this is not a site you want to draw the employer’s attention to.
- DO spend some time on crafting the perfect summary. Just like a resume or cover letter, the spelling and grammar need to be perfect. You need to choose the correct wording and sound like the professional that the employer wants to hire. Think of your summary as a sales pitch and you are the product!
- DON’T use a cute background. Something simple will let the employer focus on what is important – you.
2. Article marketing
Online marketers use article marketing all the time to increase their presence online and to create valuable backlinks for their main site.
Create an article (500-1000 words is usually the optimal length) about the industry that you are involved in to demonstrate your knowledge and skills.
You could write about newsworthy topics or topics that will always be relevant to the industry (also called evergreen topics), or you can write an opinion piece or an informational article.
Make sure that your name is attached to the article and that it points back to the main place online that you want employers go to – your About.me page.
Most article marketing sites allow you to place links either in the body of the article or in a resource box (and sometimes both). Optimize the resource box by writing two or three lines of text that peak the reader’s interest and encourage them to click through to your profile page.
One of my favorite sites for article marketing is InfoBarrel.com because they allow you to leave two links in the article, two links in your bio box, and you can create a profile page with as many links as you like. It is a growing site with a good reputation.
EzineArticles is another reputable site that allows you to create a profile page and leave links in the resource box.
When you’ve written a really great article, make sure to go back to your About.me page and include the link there.
3. Guest posting
Guest posting is when you write a blog post for someone else's blog.
When you find a blog that is in your area of expertise, contact the owner with a proposal for a guest post. You’ll be more likely to be invited to submit a guest post if you have a well thought out proposal for a post and if you have spent some time on the blog reading. Your guest post will not be accepted if you are suggesting a topic that they have recently covered.
AllTop.com is one of the best places to find industry related blogs. They have a category for almost every industry that you can think of and many of these blogs get great traffic, which means more exposure for you.
Some of the things you should look for in a blog that you are interested in guest posting on are age (don’t spend time on blogs that are less than 6 months old), amount of posts (if they only have 10 posts they are not likely a well read blog), and position in the search engines (blogs that show up in the first few pages are more likely to be well read).
4. Create a great email signature
If you send out emails at all, you should learn how to create a great email signature.
Whether you are using a free email service (like Gmail or Hotmail) or an email that is connected to your ISP, you should be able to create an email signature. If you are not sure how to do this, look for a Help link and search for “email signature” to find instructions.
Your email signature should be short and sweet and contain a link to your About.me page. Don’t just include the link though. A well-crafted sentence that encourages people to click on the link will get better results.
Make sure you include your email signature in all outgoing emails.
5. Do a podcast or be a guest on a podcast
A podcast is like an online radio show.
Putting one together can be complicated but if you are good with computers you will be able to figure it out pretty quickly. The best podcasts are informative and entertaining, but not too long.
About a half an hour in length is great for your purposes. You can discuss industry news or provide tips.
If creating your own podcast is too technical for you, you can search through podcast databases for podcasts that already exist. There is usually a messaging system that will allow you to contact the owner of the podcast. Reach out to them and ask if there is any way you could get involved.
6. Create a PowerPoint presentation and put it on SlideShare.net
SlideShare.net is a site that allows people to share their PowerPoint presentations and their knowledge. It gets fairly good results in the search engines because of its age.
If you know how to use PowerPoint (a skill that is sought out in many industries) you can create a presentation and share it on SlideShare.
Make sure to include a link to your About.me page at the end of your presentation and share your presentation on your About.me page.
7. Create a Squidoo Page
A Squidoo Page is like a mini-site about a specific topic.
Create a Squidoo Page about yourself! You can include your About.me page and create lists of articles that you have published online. Put up a mini-resume. Talk about those concrete examples that you would use in a cover letter.
The more information you put on it, the more value you will demonstrate for potential employers.
8. Participate in job search or industry-related forums
Some people consider forums to be very “old school” but they can still provide a lot of value. Not only can you learn from industry experts but you can also demonstrate your own knowledge and skills, participate in conversations and build up your online network.
Most forums allow you to create a signature that will be attached to every post you make so don’t forget to take advantage of this. The email signature you created earlier can be used here if you like.
If you are not aware of any forums do a search for the term “(your industry) forum” and you are likely to come up with at least a few good places.
Once you have joined a forum, spend some time reading before you start commenting. Get a feel for what is acceptable and what is not and learn the rules before you get started.
9. Write an informative free report
Reports can be anywhere from 5-20 pages long and contain focused material that is meant to inform.
Many bloggers use free reports as giveaways to thank people for joining their mailing list.
Your free report can be about any topic that is relevant to your industry. In your free report, you should include a link back to your About.me page in the footer of each page. You can also include a short bio at the end.
Your free report should be taken very seriously. Spend time doing research. Proofread it several times and then pass it on to a friend or two to get their input. Make sure it is attractive to look at and easy to read.
Now – what do you do with that free report? You can:
- Put it on Scribd.com (a document sharing site).
- Contact bloggers in your industry and ask them if they would like to give it away to their readers.
- Contact web sites in your industry that have a mailing list and ask them if they would like to give it away to their subscribers as a free gift.
- Contact internet marketers who work in your industry and ask them if they would like to include it as a bonus gift with their products.
- Email it to the people in your network (online and offline) and ask them to share it with anyone that they think would be interested.
10. Social bookmarking
If you aren’t using social bookmarking sites, start now.
Most social bookmarking sites allow you to create a profile where you can share a link (to your About.me page).
What you share can be picked up by others that are interested in the same topics as you. You can share interesting articles and blog posts that are relevant to your industry and you can share links to the articles you are publishing online.
Social bookmarking can also provide valuable backlinks to your content that tells the search engines that your content is important. Some of the social bookmarking sites provide dofollow links, which are even more important for backlinking.
Do not be afraid to say that you are looking for employment and welcome contact from employers. How are they supposed to know that you are looking for a job if you don’t say so? A simple invitation to contact you can go a long way!
About the Author
Danielle McGaw is a freelance writer living in a small town in the middle of Canada. She is currently the manager of the Robertson Reader – the blog for Robertson College. She considers herself to be a Social Freelance Writer and is passionate about helping people. If you'd like to learn more about her or would like to contact her, please visit her professional freelance writer site or connect with her on Twitter.
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