Thursday, March 21, 2013

Enhancing Employability through Leicester Award and Social Media usage

In order to enhance my job-hunting effort I should try and maintain a strong digital footprint. It is vital that my online image is consistent and consistently good. Leicester Award provided me with the tools to measure my online presence accompanied with some general guidelines on how to make my digital footprint more attractive to prospect employers.

To begin with, I have started making posts at my blog relevant on how individuals can increase their digital footprint and attract employers. What is more, I have started microblogging, retweeting helpful posts from Marketing organizations and keeping my twitter profile updated with the latest Marketing news. In this way I can show to future employers that I possess the so-required commercial awareness of my domain. I have also demonstrated commercial awareness by posting useful articles or actively participating in Marketing conversations. Moreover, I added to my circles organizations and companies that I am greatly interested or have already applied to them. I have joined causes and added some of my interests in every profile. In order to make my connection’s circle broader I have joined groups so that I can communicate with people having the same interests with me.

What is more I have created a neat, easy to read, up-to-date blog and I had also made sure that I link all my social media profiles to it. I have witnessed an increase in visitors, followers and connections when keeping all my profiles updated and well presented. Furthermore, I have added all relevant marketing work and extracurricular activities in my profiles to give employers a more clear view about me. In order to make it more interesting and easier to read for employers and to demonstrate my creativity skill I have created an online interactive CV and attached to my blog. In that way employers can instantly access my education, work experience and interests.

On the one hand, Leicester Award helped me recognize some of my key skills and strengths and enabled me to include them in my online CV making me more competitive. On the other hand I recognized some of my weaknesses and tried to turn them into strengths by setting targets to achieve within the year.

I have been also introduced to presence management which demands a small amount of my daily time but it will surely pay my back in the end of the day. In order to keep strengthening my digital footprint I am trying to daily update my social media’s status, reply to people’s messages, comments and posts, share news and updates and visit my blog to check for new posts. This daily process is of great importance to me given that I am mostly interested in Digital Marketing and in that way I am showing to perspective employers that I am able to maintain and handle social media successfully in daily basis.

What is more Leicester Award has provided me with some tools like “hootsuite” in order to make my daily social media management easier and more efficient. This site brings all of my social media together in one place enabling me to send out one message across several networks all at once.

Another really important topic that it was covered during Leicester Award was the importance of Search Engine Optimization techniques and how “tags” or “labels” can help me become more visible in search engines. For example I was prompted to include my name in all my posts so that when an manage to create a quite popular name, this is an easy way to make sure my results come up before everyone else’s. Tagging posts have another important function as well when it comes to job applications. I can always come back to my blog and click on a particular tag, which will bring up all the posts that have been tagged with that word. This makes putting job applications together much simpler as I don't have to remember all the specific details of my experiences.

Moreover, I intend to raise my profile by joining and actively participating in conversations while interacting with persons I want to build relationships with like future employers. This can be achieved by writing insightful and interesting blog posts and sharing them with your network or connecting with people on companies I’m interested in working in.

All in all, in order to be visible and accessible to employers I need to:
  • Create correct and full profiles
  • Be active online
  • Let people know who I am
  • Tag my name and my blog spots
  • Post links to interesting articles or videos

Experiences and involvement within Leicester Award

Leicester Award has been an enjoyable and helpful experience allowing me to identify my own personal brand and encouraging me to set goals that I wish to achieve thought social media usage. To begin with by attending the webinars and by completing the various assignments of the Leicester award I have developed a clear understanding of what a “digital footprint” is while, at the same time, I was provided with tools in order to increase this online presence of mine.

To begin with, I was asked to google myself to check how strong my existing “digital footprint” is. My online presence was really strong, as the first three pages were directly related to me but most of those pages were either dead links or out-dated profiles, which I removed immediately. Moreover, I have completed the personality test in order to check whether the already perceptions I have about myself are verified in this test. After considering my personal brand and identifying what makes me unique I had to find a way to let future employers know about me. This can easily be done by creating a “personal statement/ career objective” section within my CV in which I could summarize my personal brand in 2-3 sentences. What is more, I have been called to give specific examples on where and when I have demonstrated certain skills. This allowed me to organize my CV better and helped me prepare for future interviews or assessment centres.

Later on, I was asked to think how I am using the various social media and how they can help me enhance my employability. Through webinars, powerpoint presentations and a couple of exercises It was give straight to me an online presence allows me communicate with employers directly, gain commercial awareness, job-hunt actively and creatively and develop an effective personal brand via the web to pull employers to me. I was given a description on how each social media platform can be utilized and what it can offer to job-seekers. After recognizing the importance of social media in enhancing my employability I have started to actively microblogging (twitter), updated my profile in Google+ and LinkedIn and tried to get more involved into the Marketing industry by following some organizations and employer pages directly related to the wider Marketing domain. I have started to actively participate in discussions and ask Marketing related questions and tried to keep most interactions professional. Besides, I have created myspace profile just to strengthen my online presence.

What is more, I have created a blog in order to develop and promote my personal brand to the people that I want to communicate to. The blog would also allow me to reflect on my experiences, creating a portfolio of my skills. The blog is easy to read, includes links to all my social media profiles and contains an online CV and a personal interests section. Meanwhile, the results that were appearing in google while searching for my name started becoming more relevant to what an employer might want to see.

I have made a list with all my skills, values, beliefs, interests, aspiration and tried to include to my CV all those that will help me make it look better. I have identified my weaknesses and tried turning them into strengths and marked down my Unique Selling Proposition. I made sure all my profiles are clear and I have set privacy settings to those that I did not wished to be viewed by employers.

All my social media profiles are now presenting an individual highly interested in Marketing, knowing how to handle social media and actively involved into the Marketing industry following news and participating in conversations.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to Quickly Build Your Online Presence

A recent poll found that 30% of people have surfed the net to research people at work or potential business contacts. The reasons varied from simply looking up an address to researching a potential boss or preparing for a business negotiation.
The implications of this statistic are huge for anyone looking to advance their career. If you’re searching for a new job, it’s safe to assume that at least some employers are running an Internet search before they call you. If you’re currently employed, you can bet that some of your employees, peers, and business associates are looking you up online. Do you know what they’re finding? (If not, go do a Google search right now!)
Now, you may think online search results are pretty arbitrary but that’s just not the case. Savvy businesses don’t leave their web presence to chance … so why should you?
Here are just a few reasons why managing your online presence is crucial for career advancement:
  • Your employees, peers and superiors will research you online
  • Recruiters and HR executives may look you up before deciding to interview you
  • Former colleagues may try to find you in order to offer you a great opportunity
  • Headhunters may use the Web to find potential candidates for a new vacancy
  • Journalists may be looking to interview someone with your expertise
There is little doubt that someone, somewhere will look you up online during the next 12 months. The only question is what will they find, and that’s really up to you.

How I built a positive online presence (and how you can do it too …)

When I started my business, I was an unknown entity in a busy and fragmented industry. I knew that I had to use the Web to start building a viable business. So, I developed a four-step plan to do just that. It has worked exceptionally well for me and it can work just as well for you.

Step 1 – Create Online Profiles:

When I started out, I established profile on several high traffic and high-ranking social networking sites. This meant that when people googled my name, they quickly found me on page one of the results.
What you can do: Set up profiles now! My personal favorites for search engine visibility are:
LinkedIn ( This site will get you on to page one of Google if you set up a strong profile. But your profile must be keyword rich and also fully complete in order for this to happen.
ZoomInfo: ( Another free site that ranks very highly in search engines. This site pulls from data freely available on the web, so search for yourself before starting. You may find they already have a profile and you can simply claim it and then edit it for accuracy.
Google Profiles: ( This is a no-brainer. Google allows you to create a profile for free and then shows you at the bottom of page one when someone searches for your name. Do it now!

Step 2 – Promote your Profiles:

I included the URL for my website and online profiles everywhere – on my business cards, on brochures, in the signature line of every email I sent. I didn’t tattoo it on my forehead, but did pretty much everything else!
What you can do: You can promote your web portfolio in the same way that I promoted mine. Include the URLs on every resume and cover letter you send out. This will tell employers that you are web savvy and also allow them to learn more about you.
You can also include the URLs in your email signatures.
And once you have a strong online presence, consider adding a line to your letters and emails that says ‘for more information, feel free to google my name.’ This is a very powerful statement because it conveys a great deal of confidence!

Step 3 – Establish yourself as an expert in your field:

I was able to quickly establish a strong online presence just by writing short articles about career advancement and resume writing. I gave them to career-related websites in exchange for a Bio and a link back to the company website. Within 6 months my name was all over Google. My strong web presence now brings other opportunities such as speaking invitations, interviews with journalists and offers to write more articles.
What you can do: Website editors are in constant need of new and fresh content. Most are thrilled to publish articles and will publish a short bio at the end of the article. This is a great way to gain a reputation within your industry. If you don’t like to write, pay someone to put your ideas down on paper. There are many excellent freelance writers who can do this for you. Provided that you write articles about your area of business expertise, you can be sure that potential employers who research you online will receive an immediately favorable impression. (And don’t forget that link back to your web portfolio!)

Step 4 – Start Blogging and/or Tweeting

My blog gave me a great platform to prove that I knew what I was talking about. I was able to quickly establish a reputation as an ‘expert’ and, because blogs naturally rank highly in search engines, I quickly became more visible.
When I started my business in 2003 Twitter didn’t exist, but I couldn’t live without it now. I use it mainly as a way to learn and connect, but it’s also an excellent way to demonstrate expertise – and especially useful for those who don’t like to write. On Twitter, you don’t need to have a blog as long as you link to blog posts or articles that are useful.
What you can do: Blogging is easy to do if you like to write. For as little as an hour or two a week, you can establish yourself as an authority on your chosen subject. Two great options are Both are free and easy to use. Once you’ve opened your account and chosen from some design options, you can start typing.
Twitter is even easier. Just join and start connecting with other people.
In both cases, the key thing is to have a strategy. What is your goal for your blog/Twitter page? How do you want people to think of you? I wanted people to see me as an expert on resume writing and job search, so I keep my blog and Twitter page focused on those.

In Summary

If 30% of people use Google to search for business associates, imagine how many more will do so a year from now. That’s why it is crucial to start establishing yourself online. As my experience shows, anyone can do it with some hard work and a clear plan. Using my four-step strategy, I was able to build over 30,000 references my company on Google within one year. 7 years later, there are 771,000. You can do the same if you work at it.

Written byLouise Fletcher

How important is your digital footprint?

Your digital footprint includes the pictures, videos, social media posts, emails, tweets, and other content you share on the Internet.  The media and words you post, the people you follow and “like”, and the places you visit can all have an impact on your future opportunities.  Remember, once you post something it is no longer under your control.
Your digital footprint can:
  • Influence your potential future employer’s decision to hire you. According to a CareerBuilder survey, as many as 37% of employers are checking out prospective employees on social media before they make a final decision.  A Search Engine Journal study suggests that the number is closer to 53%.  Both studies show that the numbers are increasing every year.
  • Lead to school discipline. The digital environment you learn, work, and play in can be a very public space.  Your digital footprint follows you everywhere and can impact you and other students while in school.

Your digital footprint is IMPORTANT, so make it a positive one!Here are two videos on the website from a brave high school student willing to share a couple of her real-life stories.  Please don’t put yourself in a position to have these situations or situations similar to these happen to you.

Please remember that each of you signed an agreement that requires you to be a good digital citizen.  You are being held to a high standard and are required to do the following:

  1. Respect Yourself
  1. Protect Yourself
  1. Respect Others
  1. Protect Others
  1. Respect Intellectual Property
  1. Protect Intellectual Property

Here are some additional resources related to digital footprints:

Thank you for taking the time to read this, for keeping your digital footprint positive, and for thinking before you post.
Source:  Mr. Weinert, Director of Technology, Leyden CHSD 212Mr. Weinert
Direct Link to the source