Is your on-line presence hindering your job search?

Heather Townsend
Director
The Excedia Group
Columnist
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Autumn St. John is the content manager for Position Ignite, a website which offers a more inspiring, fun, insightful and creative approach to career support. In this blog post she looks at online reputation management – essential for today’s savvy joined up networkers.

Do you know the extent of your online presence? Are you happy with what employers might find out about you by Googling your name? It can be a hard fact to get your head round, but if you’ve used the internet – ever – then you have a digital footprint.

Around 80% of employers will Google you and search for your online presence before meeting you for an interview (source: CIPD). Your online reputation could be the first impression you make to an employer (and everyone knows how important first impressions are).

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is all about controlling the information people can find out about you and ensuring they find the online persona that you want to portray. For greater control, keep your personal and professional online personas separate.

Every blog post, tweet, status update and photo of you forms a part of your reputation. Employers will dig up information about you from your Facebook page (change your settings to private if you don’t want them to see it). But they also look on other popular networking sites like LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, YouTube and Twitter – and also lesser-known sites like Biznik, Xing, and Ziggs. There are also Big Brother-like applications like the Xobni plug-in for Outlook where an employer can see a snapshot of your online presence as soon as you email them.

It’s down to you to trace and manage this footprint to present yourself in the best possible light. Start by mimicking the employer: Google yourself and set up a Google Alert with your name as the search term. Test different search terms and also try putting “your name” in quote marks.

Search for yourself on Google images – you don’t want an embarrassing photo that you’ve forgotten about rearing its ugly head! If you discover something disparaging and you can’t delete it, bury it with positive new content.

In addition to monitoring what’s already out there, it’s just as important for you to build a powerful personal brand. Create an online profile with LookupPage and LinkedIn. LookupPage will get you to the top of Google, while LinkedIn displays your network and recommendations. Link the two sites for maximum effect.

Blogging is one of the simplest and most effective ways to make a name for yourself in your field and what’s more, it doesn’t cost anything. Search engines love indexing blogs and rank them high in search results because they’re full of fresh unique content and drive lots of traffic. Find blogs that deal with issues that you’re knowledgeable about and respond to other people’s blogs with comments.

You’d take pride in your appearance before an interview – take pride in your online reputation too.

Heather Townsend is the driving force behind The Efficiency Coach and a co-founder of 'the executive village'
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About Heather Townsend

Heather Townsend is a brand ambassador for the Practice Excellence Programme, and the Founder of ‘The Accountants Millionaires’ Club’. In 2015 the ICAEW decided she was the number one online influencer for the accountancy profession. She is the author of 4 books, including The Go-To Expert, and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie).

Heather is always up for a challenge. Perhaps that is why she has built a track record of helping accountants grow the size of their practice by 50-200%, often in under two years. Often helping them make partner or equity partner in the process.

Heather is a high profile member of the accountancy profession in the UK. She has worked with over 300 partners, coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. Heather's clients have included: 7 out of the Top 10 UK practices, including all the Big 4 firms. 

In 2016 her and her team of coaches have coached:

1) 7 people successfully to partner

2) Professionals from all of the Big 4, from every major continent in the world

 

As well as helping accountants make partner, she still spends 40% of her time helping small firms, typically under £1m GRF:

1) Create profitable revenue streams from advisory services and reduce their reliance on revenue from compliance services

2) Radically increase their profitability, even if they are a cloud based practice, often helping them achieve a net profit margin of 40%+

3) Double or even triple the size of their practice within 3 years

4) Win bigger and better clients

5) Grow the right team around them so they stop working stupidly high hours and spend quality time with the people they care about

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Her articles appear regularly in the UK national and trade press, including The Financial Times, Accountancy Age, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Heather is also in-demand for her speaking and has recently returned from the South African Accountancy Academy conference.

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