Advance your Job Search and Career with Online Identity Optimization

By Eric P. Kramer
Senior Consultant, Career Potential, LLC

Job hunters – consider these two important re-conceptualizations. First, in today’s hyper-connected world the paradigm has shifted from “who you know” to “who knows you.” Second, finding a job is not “job search” or “career transition,” as in “I am looking for a job” or “I am in transition.” Instead, job search is an ongoing part of a larger career management strategy which includes a strong online presence.

Putting these two concepts together, an effective job search includes an online identity optimization (OIO) strategy which makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to find you. The OIO strategy for achieving and maintaining your ideal career includes establishing and growing your online identity.

The internet has made searching for jobs faster and easier, but it has also made job search web sites crowded and busy. Monster, Careerbuilder and the 40,000 other job sites on the web make uploaded resumes and job listings accessible to anyone with a computer. As a result, companies and recruiters are inundated with resumes. Due to the deluge of electronic resumes and the increasing ability to search the internet, companies and recruiters are becoming more proactive in searching out top candidates, rather than waiting for good candidates to contact them. The question is – when companies and recruiters search to find good candidates, how easily can they find YOU?

Surveys by job-placement firms show that recruiters like candidates whose online identity reflects a professional image, well-rounded skills, and a personality that will fit their company culture. There are numerous ways to become more visible on the internet, some as simple as developing a free page on a networking site like Facebook or LinkedIn. The more complex tactics include building your own web site optimized for drawing traffic. Once you decide on your level of interest, effort, and budget, you can establish an OIO strategy that will significantly increase your online presence.

Here are some effective strategies for increasing and improving your OIO:

Own your name.

The first strategy is to own your name. Go to a domain registrar such as or and for less than $10.00 register a domain in your name – Note: your name may already be registered, particularly if you have a common name. If this is true in your case, try registering a domain with your middle name or middle initial. Once you have a “yourname” domain, you can build a web site, establish an online career portfolio, or write a blog – all of which are easily searchable by your name.

Refine and expand your online networking.

Having an extensive list of professional contacts is a well-established job search and career management strategy. Moving your contact list online, establishing a visible (searchable) professional profile, and expanding your network are important OIO strategies. The larger and more established networking sites makes this quick and inexpensive. In fact, most are free. Today the best web sites for professionals are LinkedIn and Zoominfo. Facebook and Myspace are also moving toward providing a more professional presence. Once you have registered on these web sites, develop a robust and professional profile. Your online profile is every bit as important as your paper resume, perhaps more so. Also, look for helpful tools that will identify how you are connected to jobs in which you are interested, and how to quickly upload and link to contacts in your contact management software.

Upgrade your resume to the online world.

Posting your text resume online at major job sites is still important, but it is no longer sufficient for a good OIO strategy. Internet technology enables your career management strategy to include a visual and engaging “portfolio” about your career. This portfolio includes and supplements your printed resume. A comprehensive web portfolio can include your work history (including links to the companies for which you’ve worked), significant career achievements, links to articles, presentations, case studies, recommendations, references, awards, and so on. Also, by using graphics, video, and audio, your portfolio will become a more engaging representation of your skills, experience and work history. Check-out for an excellent online portfolio site, or contact Career Potential to discuss our Career Web Portfolio service.

Write your way to the top.

In the online world, an individual has to establish a virtual self and a “home base” from which to connect to others. Either a blog or a web site is the most powerful vehicle to develop a recognizable personality, and it provides a home base from which you can initiate your connections. Profiles on social networking web sites can also achieve this goal. However, social networking web sites are getting very crowded, so it is hard to stand out. Once you establish a web site or a blog, it must be constantly updated (Google likes fresh, new information). Blogs and web sites with stale, outdated information won’t do much for your online identity.

Keep your online identity clean.

An ExecuNet survey found that 35 percent of recruiters had ruled out job candidates based on what they found on a Google search. Be constantly vigilant about what you do that may end-up online, and about what you actually do online. Recently, an executive was visiting his son at college. He was walking by a frat house and impulsively drank a beer from a beer bong (a long tube with a funnel at one end and the drinker at the other end). One week later, his beer bong picture appeared online and it eventually “came back to haunt him.” Once a picture gets loose on the internet, it is virtually impossible to capture it. In today’s camera-on-every-phone society, one constantly has to be cautious. Similarly, think of the possible repercussions of articles you write, blogs to which you contribute, and newsgroups in which you participate. Anything you write online becomes permanent, and when someone searches your name, this information will be found.

Track your OIO strategy.

A simple, quick and free way to evaluate your OIO strategy is to set up a “Google alert” to notify you each time your name is found on the internet. Simply list your name in an alert, and Google will send you an e-mail message when it finds your name online. How often are you found today? Over time, are you being found more often? When you Google yourself, how high-up in the listings are you found? Does your OIO move you up in those listings? These are effective methods to monitor and measure your own OIO.


Your online identity is a form of capital, much like your intellectual capital, financial capital, or social capital (your network). It can be acquired, earned, diminished, damaged, or lost. As is true with the other forms of capital, your online identity is a critical part of your ongoing career management strategy. And, similar to your other types of capital, it can be grown slowly and steadily over time – which will produce the positive results you really want. The time to start accumulating and managing your OIO capital is now!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles have appeared in thousands of publications and web sites, and he has been interviewed on every major television and radio network. Ford has also conducted presentations at hundreds of companies, associations and universities. Learn more at

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