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Don’t Just Leave Digital Footprints. Make Your Mark on the Digital Highway.

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My previous post discussed how your resume has potential to hack the hiring managers’ mindset. In this post, I’ll talk about how you can strengthen the distinct competitive advantage gained with a well-written resume. With the advent of social media, another digital deliverable – Your Social Profile – is as important as your resume. Companies today are digitally connected – not just internally, but also externally – with all stakeholders including customers, employees, partners, academia and even student communities and special interest groups. On the hiring front, social media is steadily making inroads into hiring processes and checklists. Your social profile is a reflection of your personality. It’s your online brand. Left unattended, it could put your professional stature, image and career at risk. Used effectively, it could unlock exciting professional connects and career opportunities. Read on for important tips on how to craft one.

Just like any other content, social profiles too, are governed by the golden rule of writing content appropriate for audience, context and usage. Various usability and behavior studies have shown how people consume content across channels. Your resume will be read by hiring managers, but your social profiles, most probably, will be scanned, and not read end to end. Therefore, the content on your digital profile must be readable as well as “scan-able” – without compromising the key message across sections.

Start with a well-crafted introduction that brings out your core competencies, strengths, skills and achievements. Support the introduction with a professional headline that summarizes your experience and value. Support job titles with roles, responsibilities and value created. Summarize challenges and explain how they were addressed. Use a clear, good resolution professional photograph. Refrain from using adjectives like guru or wizard to describe yourself. Besides sounding pompous and projecting you as boastful, these fluff words add little value to content.

In addition to humans, your social profile must also address needs of another important audience type – the search engines. Search engine algorithms love appropriate keywords and relevant back-links. Feed them with the keyword fodder and they in turn, will direct prospective employers to your profile. Include links to thought leadership content that you have posted elsewhere on the web. If your social profile is part of an online community, foster discussions and drive collaboration. Keep your profile active with meaningful updates and relevant content. Remember your digital assistant – the search engine, loves fresh content. The key to high search engine ranking is fresh, relevant and original content. On the technology front, most companies today use some form of source code, document and version management tool. Showcasing your coding skills through a public GitHub repository is a good way to showcase your coding competencies, articulation ability, and even technology management skills.

Finally, it’s important to ensure consistency between your resume and social profiles – specially the career positions and period information. Update both regularly and keep them in sync. Armed with these two content tools, you could well make a mark, and not just leave a footprint on the digital highway.