In my last couple of blog posts, I addressed the subject of properly building an online identity. Specifically, I drew a correlation between your online identity and The Matrix movie series and discussed the link that exists between your professional online identity and your personal brand.
Early Adopters vs. The Competition
Are you an early adopter? This marketing term that defines a group of individuals that are willing to jump in also applies to job seekers. They’re the people that are shouting from the pool “Come on in, the water’s fine!” Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn, online job boards? Are you staying connected to people that have the same interests as you? (Example: A Dairy Nutritionist should be connected to people on Twitter with interests in : Dairy, Cows, Animal nutrition, animal science, etc.)
I’m guessing these thoughts running through your mind:
- An online identity, who needs it? People can find me easily. Just look up my name.
- I have business cards and an email account…does that qualify for an online identity?
- Facebook is for highschool and college students, I won’t find a job there.
- LinkedIn is okay, it’s more business minded, but I don’t have the time to learn it.
The truth is, there’s one big reason why you should be carefully constructing and maintaining your professional online identity.
Right now, not many candidates subscribe to building an online identity as a feasible way to promote themselves. In fact, by some estimates, only 10% to 20% of professionals are taking the time to build their online identity.
Why Should You be the First?
Didn’t your mother ever tell you, “The early bird gets the worm?” At some point in the near future everybody will be building a comprehensive online identity. The job market is headed in the direction. After all, the Internet isn’t going away anytime soon. The competition in the job market has been fierce over the past couple of years. There’s reason to believe that level of competition will remain, no matter how much the economy recovers and grows.
Building your online identity is all about opportunity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an active job seeker or a passive candidate, everybody likes to have options and everybody likes opportunities. In the past, builiding your network was done solely offline and through lunch meetings. Bring online, gives you the extra boost to be the first to propose that lunch meeting, possible even meet new contacts you wouldn’t have met any other way due to geographical or network restrictions. Now, the world is at your fingertips, but you have to put yourself out there, professionally and appropriately.
- If you’re an active job seeker, you’re looking for new opportunities on an almost daily basis. You welcome them, and a complete and impressive online identity can increase the chances that you’ll find such opportunities.
- If you’re a passive candidate, you’re not actively looking for new opportunities, at least not in a way that consumes a large amount of your time. However, you wouldn’t mind if people came to you with new and exciting opportunities for career advancement. Once again, an online identity can create more of those opportunities.
So remember—you can’t take advantage of an opportunity for advancement if that opportunity doesn’t exist. Building and maintaining an online identity that brands you in the best fashion possible gives you a competitive edge over other candidates and a head start in your quest for a more fulfilling and satisfying career journey.