5 Tips to Showcase Your Online Personal Brand
For anyone looking to build their professional reputation or get hired, a professional online presence is no longer a bonus—it’s a necessity.
For anyone looking to build their professional reputation or get hired, especially in one of the most uncertain economies in recent history, a professional online presence is no longer a bonus—it’s a necessity. If you want to learn the basics of creating an online personal brand that helps you get hired and progress in your career, keep reading!
Personal branding has been defined in many ways, but I define it as your ability to articulate your value as a professional. When you have a robust online personal brand, it increases your chances of being sought out for jobs before even having to apply (Erskine, 2016). Here are my top tips for developing an online personal brand that will help you achieve your professional goals.
Tip 1: Get clear on what you’re showing employers on social media.
The entire digital world is visible to potential employers (or at least what we allow to be). Some people are more private than others, and that’s fine, but it’s important to know what you’re showing on your social media profiles to make sure it aligns with what you want to show. One quick and easy tip is to Google yourself to make sure the first results page doesn’t have any red flags. You can (and should) designate certain social media profiles as “professional.” Those are the ones you typically want to be public. If you don’t have a social media profile that you use for professional purposes, I highly recommend creating a LinkedIn profile. Since LinkedIn is currently the largest professional networking site, it is arguably the best place to start (Osman, 2021).
Tip 2: Get the most out of LinkedIn.
It’s no secret that recruiters often search LinkedIn profiles when looking for potential candidates (Fertig, 2017). I did this myself as a former recruiter. So, it’s crucial to stay active on LinkedIn, not only when you’re actively seeking employment but especially then. This means more than periodically liking posts. It means reacting to, sharing, and commenting on relevant posts regularly. Using the platform for career research and networking is also crucial. The first step to networking on LinkedIn is to add likeminded people to your network. You can search for people who work at companies or in industries you are targeting and then reach out to them directly, particularly if you have a second connection who can facilitate an introduction. If you’re reaching out to someone you don’t have a prior connection with, the importance of writing a personalized invitation can not be overemphasized. In general, the more generic the message, the less likely it is that the person will accept the request.
Tip 3: Create a professional website, especially if you have a portfolio or creative career.
If you have multiple areas of expertise or have creative projects to showcase, you can (and should) go beyond a LinkedIn profile and create a professional website. Having a professional website allows you to express your personal brand in a more creative way than on typical resume, cover letter, or even LinkedIn profile and adds an additional tool to your personal brand toolbox. You can add video and audio recordings as well as artwork, writing, or code you’ve developed. Thanks to the wide array of website builders now available, even if you don’t have any prior experience, you can create a professional website with a relatively small investment of time and money. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Hugo are just a few examples of website builders to get you started.
Tip 4: Create content and share your expertise on topics you’re knowledgeable about.
Sharing ideas and expertise on social media is one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to develop your online personal brand. Creating content is core to every online personal brand. Content creation includes things like producing a short video, writing a blog post, and being a guest on a podcast. If you are looking to take your personal brand a step further, you can offer freelance or consulting services based on the type of content you create. Even if you are actively seeking a more permanent position, freelancing or consulting offers a great way to get a foot in the door and build credibility in a specific niche.
Tip 5: Explore online professional development options to highlight relevant skill sets or knowledge.
Another way to establish credibility in a specific content area or professional skill is pursuing online professional development opportunities. There are an increasing number of options available, which vary widely in both cost and depth of the material. Learning the cost (some are free) and reputation of these programs can help you weigh the pros and cons based on your career goals. Some of them to get you started are: MOOCs = Massive Open Online Courses (i.e. Coursera, edX, Udemy). LinkedIn Learning, Google Career Certificates, and online certificate programs directly from traditional colleges and universities (i.e. Extension Schools or similar). Once you complete one of these programs, you can add it to your LinkedIn profile and/or website to take your online personal brand to the next level!
Erskine, R. (2016, September 13). 22 Statistics That Prove the Value of Personal Branding.
Fertig, A. (2017, May 5). How Headhunters Use LinkedIn to Find Talented Candidates.
Osman, M. (2021, March 18). Mind-Blowing LinkedIn statistics and Facts.