Your first introduction to a potential employer happens online, long before you ever talk on the phone or meet in person. That’s why your online brand has to project the image you desire—and have enough visibility to make it easy for recruiters to find you.
Building a Personal Website
To a large degree, you control the impact of your brand by choosing the content you create and share. A person visiting your website should be able to tell who you are and what you do.
Create a Tagline
To create a tagline, first write down what you do. Then try to distill the message to a single phrase. Jeffrey Gitomer refers to himself as the “King of Sales,” for example. That’s his tagline. Like Gitomer, your tagline should be easy to remember and sum up what you do in three words or fewer.
Once you pick a slogan, be consistent. You can’t be the “King of Sales” on Facebook and the “Marketing Maverick” on YouTube. Use the same message on your application materials and LinkedIn profile, where you know recruiters will look first.
Leverage SEO Value
Your website is like a home base. You want it to appear at the top of the search results page whenever someone types your name into a search bar. If you have a unique name, you can probably accomplish this just by using yourname.com as the domain and making a simple website.
If your name is John Smith, however, it’ll be a challenge to rank with that term. If you fail to show up on the first page of search results, the recruiter may try again with your name and tagline, or another keyword that’s relevant to your position or industry.
Take a few moments to brainstorm search terms recruiters might use to find more information about you. After you have a list of relevant terms, include the most important words in your website copy and navigation tabs.
Tech Tip: You don’t need to force keywords so they sound unnatural or robotic. Popular search engines like Google use sophisticated algorithms that identify keyword variations and associated phrases.
Search engines also penalize “keyword stuffing” and other spam-like behavior. The quality of your content is the most important aspect, so don’t repeat words unnecessarily. Keyword density doesn’t drive traffic—relevance and user behavior have the biggest impact on your website’s SEO ranking.
Create Web Copy
As a jobseeker, you need a simple website. It’s okay to just include your name, tagline, and picture on the homepage, or add more detail if it contributes to your brand.
There should also be an “About Me” page that talks about your accomplishments and vision for the future. Include links to your social media accounts and a way to contact you by email.
Adding a blog or portfolio will help your visitors get to know you better, but they’re not essential.
Design the Page
Image is critical, especially if you’re applying to positions where you’ll represent an organization. Make your website design clean and modern. If you don’t know how to code a website, look for a pre-developed template.
How Can You Measure Your Website’s Success?
If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to get into the top three search results if a hiring manager looks up your name and a relevant keyword phrase. Routinely test your website’s performance by searching for it in an incognito tab or using Google Analytics.
If you create a website and don’t improve your online visibility, you may need some help from an SEO professional.
Mastering Your Social Media Presence
Virtual networking can’t replace the connections you make in person. But it can help to solidify your relationships with acquaintances and new contacts. Social media is also extremely effective for communicating with long-distance colleagues and reminding your followers about your work.
Select the Best Platforms
Certain social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, lend themselves to different sectors. For example, aviation is one of the most active industries on Twitter.
Take the time to explore user engagement statistics and research which accounts will help you optimize your impact. You don’t need to develop a presence on every platform.
Use your tagline and a professional headshot in your profile. Don’t include other people in your profile photo–consistency is key to strong branding, and you should be the only focus on these accounts.
Try to share a piece of content on each of your social media accounts at least once per week. These posts should be relevant to your industry and brand.
For example, if you are the VP of Marketing, you could share a link to an article about email marketing and click-through rates. Write a few sentences that describe your perspective to highlight your expertise on the subject and add to the conversation. Don’t dilute your brand by sharing random content that has nothing to do with your career or industry.
Tech Tip: Some free social media management tools will let you share posts across multiple platforms simultaneously. You can even schedule posts in advance to keep your accounts active. Most of these websites also offer basic analytical insights, like the number of clicks and views you generate.
Engage With the Online Community
You can boost your visibility on social media by commenting and reacting to other people’s posts. Platforms like LinkedIn reward active users by directing traffic to those pages. The more frequently you use the platform, the more likely you are to show up in a recruiter’s online search.
Interacting with other people in your field also helps to establish a sense of reciprocity. Social networking has tangible benefits, even when it occurs online.
Publishing “Thought Leadership” Articles
All our efforts so far have focused on making it easier for hiring managers to find you by searching for your name. But what can you do to establish a name for yourself and reach new audiences proactively?
Take advantage of trade magazines and professional publishing outlets.
These websites already have the SEO authority and audience to get your name out there. By association, publishing with them adds credibility to your work.
Use an On-Brand Byline
Most publishers will ask for a short author bio or byline when you publish an article.
Here’s an example of a standard author bio:
“[Author name] is the [tagline]. He writes about ___, ___, and ____. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter, or check out his blog at [authorname.com].”
This template works well, but you can also add other personal details to make the description more memorable. For example, listing a hobby or two makes you seem relatable and could stick in a recruiter’s memory.
If possible, you should also include links to your website and social media accounts in your byline. When established websites attach links to your domain, it directs readers to your page and increases the SEO value.
Tying it All Together
Following these steps will make your online brand compelling—and when hiring managers see your passion and influence in the industry, you’ll be that much closer to your dream job.
For more tips on maximizing your offer value, check out Ivy Exec’s negotiation guide—
or schedule a free consultation with a Career Advisor