By Melanie Stepanek (@shmelanie)
While job searching itself isn’t a calculated science, elements of it certainly are. Today I’d like to focus on the highly logical and essential skill known as “Personal Search Engine Optimization,” or “Personal SEO.”
Since I’m being logical, here is an established fact: the transitive property of geometry says that, “if a = b and b = c, then a = c.”
If you are looking for a job online and your employers are looking for you online, then you have to be looking for yourself online.
As a Journalism student, I’m not entirely concerned if my theorem lines up right with Mr. Euclid’s theorem, but the point is this: you should be very, very concerned about what shows up in a search for yourself online. According to Big Shoes Network, a job search site for the marketing industry, more than 70 percent of hiring decision-makers are looking you up online. With companies stepping up Web efforts, this number will only continue to increase.
We’ve all been through the “clean up your online act” more times than I care to count, so I’m not going to bore you; rather, I’m going to aim my preachiness at those of you who return from this search empty-handed.
True, you don’t have to worry about alcoholic pictures or unfortunate public rants. No, no. You just look like a social hermit. In an age where everyone, even the Pope, is online, you have to have SOMETHING come up or you risk looking ignorant.
SEO is a practice heavily employed by businesses to achieve top “organic” search results (essentially, the top results that aren’t paid). While you may not be a business, you are still selling yourself, so you need to nurture your own SEO.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of how SEO works, here are some tried-and-true tips to optimize your online presence and showcase your industry know-how.
- Make your Facebook searchable and sign up for Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. This is an absolute staple and should be done regardless of SEO impact.
- Create your own blog or write a post for one. (hint hint hint) You can piggy-back the higher traffic of community blogs to get your own name out.
- Comment on industry-specific blogs using your real name. No anonymous.
- Experiment with other forms of social media, such as forums, social bookmarking sites and YouTube/Flickr. Create all accounts with your real name.
- Create your own online portfolio or Web site using Weebly.com or Folio 21. Use your name. (Have I said that enough yet?)
- Get engaged online. Network. Communicate with others. You will show up on their pages as well as your own.
These are just a few ideas. Anyone else have any thoughts to add?
Also: students, if you’d like an investigator to stalk look you up online to find out what employers see when they search you, let us know in a DM on Twitter (@UWOshJournalism) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to help.