How Job Seekers Can Build Their Online Brand

Personal branding expert says creating a website is the first step.

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How can job seekers utilize YouTube or other video-sharing platforms?

If you're introverted and not good on video, do not use video. It can really hurt you … The reason why video is powerful is because it's the feeling of, I already know you … For people looking for jobs, [the hiring manager has] such a better sense of the person's personality and who they are, before [they] make the hiring decision. If [you're] applying for [a] job [and you have] a video resume … it's going to differentiate [you]. But it's got to be good, and it's got to be short, under two minutes.

The good thing is you can do 1,000 takes before you put [the video resume] online. You have a lot of chances to make it perfect.

Using social media to find a job was hot last year. What do you think will be hot this year?

I think soft skills are really becoming more valuable than technical skills. Because a lot of people can be good programmers or good accountants, so what's the differentiator? It might come back to personality and organizational skills and teamwork … How well do you get along with people? Can you network well? How large is your network? That's another reason why if you're on social networks and you're blogging and you're building all these relationships, you become more valuable.

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Should a freelancer or consultant approach personal branding differently than someone who's looking for full-time work?

For someone who's a freelancer or consultant, it's going to be even more valuable. For anyone in the service industry, [personal branding] is huge. Whether you're a plumber, a personal finance person, any type of consultant or entrepreneur, you're a business of one. So who else is going to sell you besides you?

[Consultants should start by] building their [web]site under their own name, definitely starting a blog, getting their ideas out there. Being specific [and] taking a niche [is] a good way to position yourself in a crowded marketplace and start getting more visibility. And have products. Create an e-book, maybe write a book, create a workbook. All that stuff is going to help you, going to make you look a bit more credible.

Start [public] speaking. Speak at the college you went to. And then use that as a case study, with an endorsement and a video, to get your next speaking gig. Starting small is the right way.

For job seekers who use Twitter, do you recommend they write in their bio that they're looking for a new job?

I think it is a good idea. Because if people don't know you're looking for a job, how can they help you?