Your New Job Security Starts Here

A stable work future isn’t about finding a lifelong employer. It’s about being able to land the next professional opportunity—which means mastering the digital job hunt

Virginia Sole-Smith
Photograph: Andrew B. Myers

Role-play the interview
Skype with a friend or mentor until you feel comfortable on camera. “Practice looking directly into the Web camera so you’re making eye contact with your interviewer,” says Fennell. “And don’t fix your hair just because you can see yourself onscreen. Skype is not a mirror!”

Frame the shot
Once you choose the room in which you’ll sit, check the lighting: Is it bright and clear or dim and unflattering? Get rid of any background clutter and shut the cat in another room to prevent distractions.

BECOME A BLOGGER
A blog, in which you offer a tightly focused take on what’s happening in your industry, lets you stack your Google results with another positive contribution every time you publish a post. This is helpful even if you have a website showcasing your professional achievements: Blogging ensures a steady stream of fresh, new content associated with your name. A blog also helps make it easier for people to find you online, says Arruda. If you have a common name or share a name with a celebrity, add your middle name to your professional moniker to make it more distinctive.

Blog under your full name at Yourname.com
Or give your blog a domain name like virginiasolesmithWRITER.com, which announces your profession. Then use your full name in the blog’s header, work it into the body text and consistently publish content. Over time, this approach will likely push your blog onto your name’s first page of Google results. And include your blog’s URL on your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, as external links move a site’s search rankings even higher.

Make yourself an expert in your field
Wendy Terwelp, a career coach and author of Rock Your Network for Job Seekers, reports that several of her clients have nabbed job interviews thanks to interesting content they posted about their area of expertise. One marketing executive wrote a series of posts on how to start a corporate blog, which caught the eye of a manufacturer looking to hire someone to do just that.

Use a professional layout
Terwelp’s favorite blogging platform is WordPress.com, because it’s easy to use and offers the most design options. (The format called “Pilcrow” is a good minimalist choice.) Other platforms are Blogger and TypePad. Whichever you use, place key content in the top left corner of the screen. “That’s the most expensive spot to advertise on the Web because it’s where our eye goes first,” says Sundheim. “Only around 30 percent of people ever make it over to the right side of the screen—but you can draw them over by placing your head shot in the bottom right corner.”

Choose your own keywords
Since the odds are good that you’re not the only Jane Doe online, most people searching for you will add qualifier words (“Jane Doe real estate broker”) to narrow their results. Decide which words people are most likely to use, then tag them on every video and blog post.

Consider vlogging (video blogging)
If you’re skilled with a webcam, start interspersing written posts with the occasional video. Set up a YouTube page and upload your videos there as well. It’s great exposure; there are three billion views of YouTube videos every day. Plus, Google owns YouTube, so these videos should show up on page one of the results when someone searches for your name.

Join conversations
Increase traffic to your blog (and positive results in your Google search) by commenting, using your full name, on other relevant sites. “Blog comments show up near the top of your Google results, so it’s very useful to participate in well-written, meaningful discussions to establish your online reputation,” says Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com. You should also pitch guest post ideas to larger industry blogs; publishing on key sites is a good way to stay visible.

First Published October 11, 2011

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