Emmelie De La Cruz, Founder of The Branding Muse, is the go-to expert for college students and young professionals who want to take control of their personal brand and thrive in the competitive job market. She loves tweeting so reach out: @Hermusings.
Young people are the most technologically savvy generation, yet they often fail to use their talents for their benefit. This is the generation that will figure out how to jail-break an iPhone and stream movies illegally online, but cannot muster up the energy to figure out how to create a WordPress website. Oh the irony.
Many millennials fail to understand and recognize the value that a personal website adds to their brand and how it can instantly build their credibility. With school, working full-time and other responsibilities, a personal website drifts to the bottom of the to do list. However, an online presence can be the difference between landing a job in your industry or company of choice and taking a job that pays the bills but will not help further your career.
It is important to recognize that an online presence, especially a personal website, can help to spark an interest in you. The only thing worse than being searched for online and finding nothing, is being searched for and finding something that reflects negatively upon you. You are able to avoid both by having a cohesive online presence and a website that allows you to control the conversation around your name. When someone searches my name “Emmelie De La Cruz”, they find more than enough information about who I am, what I do and my professional experience. They can refer to articles I have written, articles that have been written about me, profiles on various social networks and and my personal website. All of this information collectively creates my digital footprint and speaks to my experience, activities and involvements.
Even if there isn’t a lot about you online, a personal website can serve as the hub that connects all of your social media channels, writing samples and portfolio pieces. You should create a simple WordPress blog and be sure that it includes an about page, portfolio page and contact page. You can also include your résumé and a blog which serves as social proof and illustrates your unique thought process, writing skills and your interest and passion for an industry. Add all the information that is necessary for a visitor to be clear on your experience and capabilities. This includes an about page with a professional biography, any involvement in activities or your community and any awards or recognition you have received. Also, facilitate the process of getting in touch with you by including a contact page with your email and links to your social channels.
A personal web site, however, can seem overwhelming to create, so start small with a BrandYourself profile or About.Me page. These profiles combine LinkedIn and the essential components of a personal website into a single landing page. On this profile you can include a biography, your professional experience, connect your social channels and include links to content about you. BrandYourself is designed specifically to help you control your online reputation. When creating your site or profile, make it a priority to own your domain name (FirstnameLastname.com) for search engine optimization purposes and to ensure that you are found online.
After you have set up the foundation for your online presence through a website or profile, consider the creation of content and commit to a consistent schedule. Delivering good content consistently is what sets you apart. Post at least twice a month to keep content fresh and your audience returning frequently. With more eyes visiting your website, you increase the amount of connections you make and opportunities that come your way. Even if you aren’t job searching or your reader isn’t sure how to engage you at that moment, blogging keeps you top of mind. When the right opportunity comes along, you are the person they immediately think of. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?