How to Grow Your Online Presence from a Shadow to a Footprint

grow online presence

In today’s world where recruiters and hiring managers search online to find and vet potential candidates, being a “shadow” person can hurt you.

I use the term shadow people to refer to those with little to no professional information available about themselves online.

In my experience helping 100s of job seekers, I’ve seen job hunts for VP, SVP and C-Suite roles facilitated when online searches yield information, and more importantly when searchers are impressed by what they see.

The bottom line? Growing your online presence from a shadow to a full-on footprint is a necessary evil when targeting executive roles – that once embraced can reap great ROI.

Rome Was Not Built in a Day

Building your online presence will not occur overnight. It takes at least 30-45 minutes per week and should complement (not copy!) your career marketing tools like a resume.

These 4 steps can get you started.

1.Choose a Platform

There are many networking platforms from which to choose nowadays. Which one (or two) work best for you will depend on your career aspirations.

By far the most common platforms from which to network professionally are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. However, if you are targeting a creative role, you may want to consider additionally going on sites like Instagram, Pinterest or even Snapchat to showcase your skills.

TIP: Most platforms allow you to hold more than one account, and many choose to have both personal and professional accounts. Manage your privacy settings by making personal accounts private so that searches will only reveal details about your professional persona.

Also read: Build Your Personal Brand on Social Media’s Big 3: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook

2.Find + Share Content

You can build and grow your online footprint by finding and sharing the articles and thoughts of others – providing the content relates to the industry or roles to which you aspire.
Simply “liking” on Facebook or LinkedIn, or hitting “retweet” on Twitter, require just seconds of your time. If you have a bit more time to invest, add some thoughts before hitting send.

Stumped for material? Online industry magazines and newsletters are chock-full of interesting articles – and most list the logos associated with common social media platforms that make sharing easy.

TIP: LinkedIn Pulse contains wide-ranging, share-worthy articles, as do free content gathering (known as content aggregator) sites like and Flipboard.

3.Make a Habit

Posting regularly can keep your name front and center – or at least at the tip of a recruiter’s tongue. It will also help you remain in the feeds of your connections. As a rule of thumb – 1x a day is a great place to start, however, 2 or 3 times a day is better.

Tip: Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are free, and allow you to schedule messages ahead of time across the platforms of your choosing.

4.Start Talking (Virtually!)

Engage with others online who post about topics that interest you and relate to your career aspirations.

Your level of engagement can be small or large. Easy efforts might include telling someone you appreciate their writing/sharing this article. Have more time? Articulate your thoughts on parts or all of what you’ve read.

Tip: LinkedIn Groups are a perfect place to take that first step – as there are thousands of groups organized to discuss specific industries, job functions and even regions of the country.

Also read: 3 Steps to Becoming a Respected Thought Leader in Your Industry

Why Wait?

Evolving from a shadow person to having a professional online footprint in my view is a win-win with little to no downside.

If you are content with your role – an online footprint might help you to expand your network and yield more business.

If you are eager to make a career move – then an online presence or brand can only help to reinforce your professional profile.

Why not start now?

About the Author

Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW is the founder of Virginia Franco Resumes which offers customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker.