In the search for great talent, more recruiters are turning to social networks and online queries in lieu of the traditional resume databases. Will they find you? Sourcing candidates through social networks and by using keyword searches means that you have additional power to influence who finds you online. And it isn't just recruiters searching for candidates online, anyone can research you—in fact, employers are researching you online during their review process. What will they discover? You can play a significant role in creating the right first impression online if you take a proactive approach. The sites mentioned below already have high-ranking search engine status and this gives you the power to elevate your name.
This list may seem overwhelming at first glance, but don't worry. You may already be using some of these social networks and you may only need to spruce them up a bit. If you are not using some of these social outlets, they don't require daily or frequent updates. They exist and serve as online content referencing you so that search engines and recruiters can find what you want them to find.
1. Go Google yourself. Before you do anything, search for your name using Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Your past searches may influence your search results, so be sure you log out of your browser or account, if you have one, and clear your cache. This will ensure you see the same results others would view if they were searching for you. Type your name in the search box using quotation marks like, "Jane Doe." Where does the right reference to your name appear in the search results? Your goal is to develop numerous references to the best content about you on the first page of search results.
2. Leverage LinkedIn. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it will usually appear on the first page. However, if you have a common name, the results may not point solely to your profile. How will someone researching you know which profile is yours? If you haven't already customized your LinkedIn profile URL (vanity profile), be sure to do so using the name people would search for you by. Also incorporate the right keywords in your headline, summary, and expertise sections. These keywords are specific skill sets recruiters would use to search for candidates.
3. Firepower on Facebook. Facebook also ranks high in search results. If you already have a Facebook account, be sure you have completed the professional section on your profile to include your work history and projects. Again, it is important that you use key words and phrases to highlight desirable skills. You can also include more professional information in your about section.
4. Tap into Twitter. Twitter profiles and tweets are public and searchable. This is a good way for you to build digital content and a presence online. You only have 160 characters to highlight your talents in your Twitter bio, so use them wisely.
5. Grab onto Google+. A Google+ profile gives you the opportunity to add a headline, introduction (summary), occupation, employment history, education, and links to your social profiles and photos. There is plenty of room for you to write a keyword-rich summary. And, of course, Google+ profiles rank pretty well in Google searches.
6. Welcome Wordpress. If you have thought about blogging or are considering a blog as a personal website, Wordpress is the favored tool. You can build a site to highlight your professional expertise without having a lot of knowledge on how websites work. If you invest in your own domain, that significantly increases your power to rank highly in search results.
7. Power up a personal page builder. Creating a personal page doesn't take much time. You can use it to link to examples of your work or just provide more information about yourself and you can include links to the social networks you're active on. There are many free personal page options such as About.me, Flavors.me, and Zerply.com.
8. Slip into SlideShare. SlideShare allows you to showcase your documents, videos, and presentations. This platform has dual benefits. First, it serves as a portfolio of your work. Second, you can link your Slideshare presentations inside your LinkedIn profile for an even stronger representation of your abilities.
9. Populate Pinterest. Sharing images that are professionally and personally significant is just one more way to increase your online exposure. You can share these images across other social networks to draw attention to them, and you. Pinterest provides you with another way to visually represent your talents, interests, and knowledge. Don't forget to create a keyword-rich bio.
10. Amazing Amazon. If you're an avid reader or just want to showcase what you've read, consider writing a customer review on Amazon. Select a book that is relevant to your work or industry, demonstrate your strong writing skills and by all means, complete your Amazon profile information.
Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.