Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term many web savvy individuals will be familiar with – but, what does a job seeker need to know about it?
Applying for a job in 2017 is fiercely competitive and the job market is transitioning every second. Never has it been more important to impart professionalism and personality in equal measure. In many respects; YOU are your own brand and should continually evolve, broaden and strengthen, much like a search engine algorithm. Indeed, have you ever Googled yourself? And if you haven’t – why not?
Recruiters and employers alike will search online to source their ideal candidate and if you’re beginning to crave a change in career, now would be an opportune moment to look at how you might be found. When you type your name into Google’s search bar, is everything as it should be? If it isn’t, how can you achieve it? Stay relevant, keep connected and make a few simple SEO-savvy changes.
Establish a brand to ensure you stand out from the crowd. In fact, if you’re clever, your brand may just be the thing that will secure your next role. Think of it like an opportunity to reclaim power; to proactively sculpt your career persona, personal brand and digital presence in one fell swoop. Set about making your brand visible and fluid, reaching across desired online channels, tied together with a metaphorical ribbon and ready to wow big bosses at every opportunity.
Pad Out Your Professional Profile
If you’re a professional, chances are you have a LinkedIn account. But you may not have utilised the platform to the best of its ability. Firstly, ensure you have a professional headshot in place – as this is likely to be the first thing those viewing your profile will see. Edit your headline and make sure to include strong keywords related to your current skillset; logical and relatable keywords will aid how easily recruiters will find you.
You can also claim your URL to include your name.
LinkedIn often ranks well in an organic search, so including your name in the URL can help you to rank well too.
Don’t forget, once you do this, you will be able to apply your URL link to other social media profiles – establishing a consistent and fluid connection from page to page.
Likewise, creating your own professional website or blog will benefit you greatly. Like LinkedIn, a personal website will provide you with the ability to showcase yourself, your works and achievements, but it will also give you the chance to establish your personal-professional brand and to exercise true creative character.
Do your research and look through sites created by job seekers in your field. This will give you an opportunity to see how competitors are selling themselves and will provide you with inspiration too – helping you to establish how you want to construct your page, and the best way to market your individual skillset.
Improve Your Personal Profile
Including social media links on your website will not only allow readers to engage, connect and share in your posts – but these additional social pages will help to improve SEO too. In fact, if you include social media handles on your CV you can further reinforce brand, personality and industry knowledge.
However, be sure not to underestimate the power of personal pages. Is your profile public? If it is, remember that employers can see all your information – good and bad. If you need to, scale down what is visible and delete anything that can impinge on your credentials.
A site where this is less of an issue is of course LinkedIn. With LinkedIn, it is best to keep your privacy settings free and open. This will allow all recruiters to read through your profile; not just those who happen to have a LinkedIn account. You don’t want to make the mistake of limiting yourself in a professional market.
Add That Little Bit Extra… Video!
Undoubtedly, video is becoming the go-to medium through which to push brand. To date, YouTube has over one billion users and vlogging has never been more popular – with the younger generation today looking for inspiration from vlogging entrepreneurs and their seemingly effortless reach across the web.
Certainly, the format has a progressive and ubiquitous quality that makes it suited to the modern age – so why not make use of its power when applying for your dream job role. If you create videos that are in any way connected to your professional path, post them on YouTube. The reason is simple: Google owns YouTube, and your goal is to rank well on Google.
Like other sites, make use of strong keywords and meta descriptions when posting videos to explain who you are and what relevance your video offers. Remember – keep content clear, concise and related to your desired market. You may even want to think about creating a short video CV for future applications.
In fact, some businesses include this as part of their interview process already, so why not beat employers to the post? Videos can show an employer who you are, and what you can bring to the team, much faster and more effectively than a two-dimensional CV can. Whether it’s a short introduction to your personal character, or a detailed showcase of your relevant skills – it might be worth considering.
Connect with Intent
To make your presence online as effective as possible, be sure to connect with relevant contacts – but always do so with clear intent. This will ensure that the network you build has been fully optimised – but is also highly effective and prosperous in terms of career potential.
Other than online, seek to attend as many networking events as possible – and don’t underestimate the value of striking up a conversation. If you meet someone at an event or even by chance who may be useful, note down their contact information or keep their business card to one side.
Remember, if you don’t make a move to connect with them straight away – don’t fret. When you have an opportunity, seek to engage with them via LinkedIn or social media and perhaps approach them by highlighting something that makes you a viable connection to have.
In some cases, you may be able to acquire links to and from your site with certain contacts, which will work to increase the visibility and ranking of your web page. To help yourself get started, begin by providing links to family, friends and colleagues – asking each to return the favour when they can.
Keep at It
To be the best potential candidate you can be – don’t let your online presence and SEO tactics slide. Remain as current as possible and make sure to keep active, even when possible interview opportunities arise. Your activity can be as simple as a new post, fresh connection or an informed comment on a public forum; whatever the case, it will enable you to streamline your online identity.