Today, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. Here are four things that I think all IT professionals should have to help them move up in the job market.
1) Personal Domain Name Domain names are cheap nowadays. If you really want to stand out you should buy firstnamesurname.com. If you can, buy just your surname and buy local suffixes too (like .co.uk). If all of these are taken, then you are going to have to use your imagination. The important thing is getting your name in there.
Once you have secured your name, you can put something there. This could be a portfolio site or simply a single page with a CV and contact details. If you really can’t get the time to build a site (although I highly recommend that you do), there are plenty of services that will help you such as WordPress. WordPress is good because you can create both a blog and a static site. There are also easy to follow instructions on how to publish on your own server.
2) Professional E-mail Address A lot of judgement can be made from a person’s e-mail address. The problem is that a lot of people made their e-mail addresses when they were 13 years old. But firstname.lastname@example.org is unfortunately not going to look too good to a potential employer.
The best thing that you can do is use a custom name for the domain part. If you managed to follow step 1, this shouldn’t be too hard. The domain would be @firstnamesurname.com. Better still, if you managed to secure just your surname as the domain, you can do ‘email@example.com’.
If you are unable to do the above, you must create an address with a reputable provider. Your AOL address has to go. Hotmail too. Gmail seems to be a popular choice nowadays. When picking your username, use the firstname.surname format.
3) Social Media Firstly privatise your Facebook page. I believe that it is very good for friends to stay in touch, but should never be shown or advertised to current or potential employers or clients. But I do believe that some social media is very useful.
Twitter. If you are already using this, then ask yourself, “Is there anything on here that I would be embarrassed for people to see?” If you have had a Twitter account for several years, the chances are that you do. I suggest you make this account private and a new public account with a name that matches your name. Twitter is very good because you can ‘follow’ a load of companies related to your field to stay in the loop. Retweeting stuff will get you noticed especially if you add your own opinion. Feel free to add some personality to it by adding the odd picture or personal comment (don’t overdo it, its even better if it is industry related).
LinkedIn is a given. A social media site dedicated to professionals to show off their skills. On here you can complete a profile that is essentially like your CV. The more you complete, the more you get noticed. This is most definitely the place that you should connect with your work colleagues and perhaps clients. You can also join groups of specific topics so you can connect with people of similar skills. You would be surprised how many people are advertising jobs on here.
Coderwall is designed mainly for programmers. The idea is that you fill out what skills you have and others can endorse those skills. It links with your github account and lanyard, so any open source projects you have and any events that you have been to will appear under the relevant skill. You can also share tips and tricks as well as join groups. This is a fun and nerdy way to show off your skills.
4) Business Cards If you are lucky enough to be given a set of cards by your employer, then you may feel obliged to give these out at events. But I think that is still a very good idea to have your own one. These are good for if you do not have ajob, or are freelancing, or are simply at events that your personally attended.
The cards should have that nice personal e-mail that you created in Step 2 and your website. Also, I personally liked to put my Twitter account on there (it really is a quick and easy way for people to stay in touch!) Obviously your name and what you do are very important.
I made my cards on Vistaprint. They provide hundreds of designs and great flexibility. Also you can upload your own one. Also, for November only, they are giving a free card holder with every order.
I hope these tips were useful. If you have anymore feel free to add to the discussion by commenting below. Thanks for reading!