There are many different ways to market yourself and show your skills online, but the most popular forms are those of business networking sites, of which the most widely used being LinkedIn.
One thing to always bear in mind with business networking is your online profile represents a first glance by potential employers of your professional self. Therefore its always worth taking an interview appearance based approach to creating and maintaining your ‘profile’:
> Profile picture; always ensure your profile picture is as clear and professional as possible. Although it might be a nice way to represent your personality and you may wish to give a ‘fun’ impression, look at it from the point of view of a employer – ‘does it indicate a professional and serious approach to work?’,
‘Would they dress like that to an interview?,
‘How much do they take into consideration that their profile also represents the company they work for?’.
> Professional Summaries; most business networks allow you to enter a summary of your skills and working personality. Its important to make sure you do not use a lot of ‘Buzz words’ when writing your profile, and instead think about how it best represents you and how you wish to be viewed before an interview or when pitching yourself to a client.
> Profile Completion; Ensure your profile is as complete as possible, and you have detailed any education and work experience you have had. This makes your profile more likely to appear towards the top of any search results.
> Portfolio’s and online test scores; it is always a good idea to show proof of your work and abilities, of which you can either integrate into LinkedIn or even host separately on your own personal website. In either case, when displaying past work be mindful of what work you may or may not be permitted by past employers to showcase as your own. Some may be concerned of showing team based work as solely your own, whilst some work might be wholly unauthorised for external viewing.
‘Smarterer’ is one way of showing your proficiency level at various skills and subjects, and gives recruiters/employers a look into your abilities before meeting. However remember it is unnecessary to take all tests if unrelated, only put on your public profile those scores you deem important to the industry/profession you are applying yourself to (otherwise you can appear to have no specialist qualities, and therefore make it more difficult to market yourself effectively).
> Skill and endorsements; although a relatively new feature, LinkedIn is keen to push the relevance of its network approved endorsement option. While it is important to put down your skills in this section to give a great overview of your strengths, don’t worry too much about receiving endorsements from other connections within your network upon them.
> Recommendations; Recommendations allow users to write a short entry on a networked contact’s profile. Although they are a great way of showing your appreciation for a someone you’ve worked with, its worth noting that any recommendations you give on LinkedIn represent you and your professional appearance. Therefore ensure they are written professionally, and make sure you do not recommend anyone for anything that may reflect negatively on yourself.