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Creating an advanced online identity

creating an online identity, creating a powerful online identity, job search personal branding,
Creating a strong, business-like online identity
can help you impress hiring companies.
If you already have a basic online identity, but want to increase your visibility to potential employers, these instructions are for you.

The idea is to create a blog where you can express your thoughts, display those thoughts in your LinkedIn profile and use Twitter and LinkedIn discussion groups to announce, or promote, your blog entries.

But first, let's discuss Facebook … 

Many people have a personal side to their identities, which they reveal on Facebook. They converse freely about their likes and dislikes in politics, religion, dating, marriage, sports, music, etc. As a result, their Facebook friends know many of their personal details. But, ask yourself …
  • Do you want this highly personal information to be visible to a potential employer?
  • Do you trust all of your personal friends and family members to limit their Facebook comments to thoughts that are appropriate for a potential employer to read?
In most cases, the answer is probably "no". That’s why I do not advocate connecting your professional blog with your Facebook account. 

Creating a blog
You can create a blog using one of the commonly available tools. Two of the most popular are Blogger and WordPress. It doesn't matter which tool you use, as long as you are comfortable using it. Both of these tools are free for most users.

Follow the blog creation instructions provided by the blog site. Your blog should have at least two sections -- a biographical summary about you, the author, and a blog postings area where your latest blog entry and recent blog entries are displayed.

You may also wish to obtain a reference book, such as "WordPress for Dummies," to help you understand how to write blog entries (called "posts") and manage your site.

Also consider purchasing a personal web domain (such as "FredJSmith.com") for your blog. This helps promote a consistent online image and is more professional than a blog with a name such as "fredjsmith.wordpress.com". Typically, a personal web domain can be obtained for around $15 per year.

Writing a blog
There are many books, articles, and web sites about writing a blog, which you can read to gain more experience. For now, simply find an interesting item from one of the companies (or people) you follow on Twitter and write a few paragraphs about what you think about the subject. Write something consistent with your online identity and that you will not be ashamed of in the future.

Linking your blog to your LinkedIn profile
Once you have a blog and have created your first post, log in to LinkedIn so you can connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile.

For a WordPress blog, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to "Edit My Profile"
  2. Select "Add Application"
  3. Select "WordPress"
  4. Select the options "Display on my profile" and "Display on LinkedIn home page"
  5. Once you see the title of your blog, select the "[edit]" to check your settings.
  6. Enter (or verify) the URL of your blog.

For a different blog, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to "Edit My Profile"
  2. Select "Add Application"
  3. Select "Blog Link"
  4. Select the options "Display on my profile" and "Display on LinkedIn home page"
  5. Select the "By Me" tab to see postings from your blog.
  6. Select the "From My Contacts" to see blog postings from others that you know.
  7. Select the "Hide this feed" link to prevent blog postings from others from being included in your profile. (I suggest you hide ALL blog feeds from your contacts, because it is your LinkedIn profile.)
  8. Select "View My Profile" and you should see your blog entry included in your LinkedIn profile.

Promoting your blog
Writing a blog can be fun, but getting comments from readers is where the action is. Promote your blog so you can attract readers who will (hopefully) leave comments.

Promotional ideas
1) Tweet a summary of each new blog post with a shortened URL to your Twitter followers. 

2) Create a LinkedIn discussion entry on relevant LinkedIn groups for each new blog post. Include a link to the post. Because some group moderators/members prefer that discussions remain within their group (and not driven to the blog for commenting), encourage people to comment on your blog and/or to discuss your topic within the group. This will help you to be viewed as an "asset" to the group.

3) Subscribe to blogs where they talk about topics similar to what you intend to blog about. In many cases, these people will subscribe to your blog or include you in their "blog roll" (a listing of other blogs they find interesting).

There are many more ways to promote your blog which you will discover as you gain experience. How you promote your blog is an important element of your online identity and will help you be perceived as a knowledgeable, positive, value-added member of your professional community.

Ensure your online identity is a fair representation of who you are as a person and become known as someone who others would like to know in a professional setting.

That's all for now. Best of luck in finding that new job. Comments are welcome.


A guest post by David Fulton

Guest blogger David Fulton is a software product management professional for enterprise, web-enabled applications in the greater Boston area.

What comments or suggestions do you have about establishing your online identity or about aspects of this post? Add your comments!


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  1. You should only do the blogging thing if you're a competent writer.

  2. I agree, blogging and not being a particularly good writer is a mistake.


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