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Starting Your Online Job Search,
Support Your Personal Brand
with Personal SEO

By Susan P. Joyce

[This is Step 3 in Part 1 of Job-Hunt's Online Job Search Tutorial.]

When you know the job you want next, you have very good insight into your personal brand. Earlier in this tutorial, we've seen how important it is to have a target job. This target job is part of your "Personal Brand" -- your professional image in the online world. For a more complete explanation, read What's So Important About Personal Branding? part of Job-Hunt's Guide to Personal Branding.

Your personal brand helps you determine your keywords for your current and future jobs, and your keywords are the foundation of your personal SEO ("Search Engine Optimization"). Your personal SEO must support your personal brand.

When your LinkedIn Profile or job application is competing with hundreds or thousands of others, you need to be found on a search for someone with your skills and accomplishments. The right keywords in the right places will make you visible when a recruiter or prospective employer searches in LinkedIn, Google, or an ATS for someone like you.

Without the right keywords in the right places in your LinkedIn Profile and job application or resume, you are invisible. Unless your target job is spy, this is not good for your job search. For more information about personal SEO, see the articles in Job-Hunt's Guide to Personal SEO for Job Search.

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Step 3A. Define Your Personal Brand

Today, with all the online visibility needed to succeed professionally, you must have a clear personal brand that makes it clear what you do. As Job-Hunt's Personal Branding Expert Meg Guiseppi states:

"Tom Peters, who coined the phrase in 1997 in his Fast Company article "The Brand Called You," had this to say:

'You're every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different?

'We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.'"

Your personal brand is the professional foundation of your personal reputation. It's what people know you for. It's how you introduce yourself to someone when they ask you what you do. Essentially, it is who you are professionally. Answer the questions in Meg's 10-Step Personal Branding Worksheet, and read Personal Branding Hype and Myth vs. Reality and The Secret of Personal Branding Success -- Authenticity for more information.

Step 3B. Leverage Your Personal Brand with Personal SEO

While understanding your personal brand is essential today, making that personal brand visible, effectively, online will play a significant role in the success of your job search.

Recent studies have shown that more than 90% of recruiters for most professions/employers search online for qualified job applicants. Searching Google and LinkedIn is more efficient for them than trying to dig through the hundreds of applications (mostly from unqualified people) that result from job postings.

This relentless level of searching, online and in Applicant Tracking Systems, means that we must all practice personal SEO so we are found when a recruiter is searching for someone with our skills, qualifications, and accomplishments. Without practicing personal SEO, we are less visible than we need to be today. Read The Top 25 Keywords for Your Job Search and Developing the Best Keywords for Your Job Search for more information.

Without the right keywords (for you) in the right places (your LinkedIn Profile and resumes/job applications), you will be wasting your time when you apply for jobs. Read Job-Hunt's Guide to Personal SEO for Job Search and Careers for details on how to make your LinkedIn Profile more visible and how to make your resume more visible in applicant tracking systems. See How to Indentify Exactly the Right Keywords for Your LinkedIn Profile and Optimize Your Resume to Be Found by Recruiters for details.

NEXT: Step 4 - Determine Your Online Reputation


About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.


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