Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

Online presence – an opportunity creator

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

Your online presence is an opportunity creator. It is more powerful than a paper resume which is just a claim. Your online presence is the proof employers can verify. Your online presence creates a pull.Online Presence

Uncertainty across sectors

Lifetime employment is so twentieth century. Layoffs have become common place. The reasons for rightsizing range from lack of relevant skills and cost pressures to unpredictability of business cycles. You can no longer rely on the employer’s brand. You have to build your own brand through your online presence.
IBM faces a lawsuit that claims it laid off 100,000 workers who were “old”. Headhunters tell people over 40 years of age, that employers prefer younger, more tech-savvy employees. We compete with other humans (esp millennials) and machines alike.
Deutsche Bank closed its global equities business resulting in 18,000 jobs lost worldwide. Huawei had to do extensive layoffs following the blacklisting by US government. Ten lakh jobs in the auto-component companies could result from the slowdown in the auto industry.
The job market soon will get saturated with thousands of candidates chasing a few opportunities. This is when having a strong online presence is an advantage. That is your personal brand.

Updated resume

Work can be outsourced to other countries with lower labor costs or automated. Any work that is repetitive, rule-based and at scale gets automated. Digital disruption is shortening the half-life of skills. The new jobs demand significant upskilling. Most people don’t upskill themselves voluntarily. The gig-workers have the expertise and do not bloat up your payroll.
Most respected employers provide outplacement services to help impacted employees land a role elsewhere.
Many people discover that their resume was last updated when they had applied for a job in college. When employees get laid-off, they enter a job market whose rules have changed. Their online presence can give them an advantage a resume cannot.

Personal brand matters

In a crowded job market, it is hard to explain what makes you different from every other qualified candidate. That is where building a personal brand matters. A potential employer must view you as different from the thousands of other job-seekers. The differentiation is easiest to create through one’s online presence.
The resume may state that you are a strategic thinker or that you are a great people manager. Isn’t that what other resumes would state?
If you had a blog or website that shows your strategic thinking and execution skills, it is an easy reference check for your employer. You can show people how your skills translate on the ground. Your online presence can be a powerful supplement to each quality your resume talks about.

Show not tell

A headhunter tells me that a paper resume is just a series of unsubstantiated claims. It is the candidate’s social media presence is a much more powerful statement. Your online presence must reflect your proficiency in the skills your resume claims. When a number of people seek you out for your views and expertise, potential employers notice it too.
The breadth and depth of the content can establish your online presence as a thought-leader without having to make that claim all by yourself. Your content differentiates you from your peers. Your content portfolio is your resume.
What you post on social-media is seen by your colleagues, competitors, your boss and even your future employers. When we consume content, we also form an opinion about the person who shares it. Your online presence triggers adjectives in your readers as they read the content you create. YouTube stars know this all too well.

Online presence equals opportunities

Bethany Mota is a 23-year-old YouTube star who started her YouTube channel in 2009 to share tips on beauty and make-up. Her channel on YouTube has more than 10 million subscribers. Her net worth now is worth $2.5 million. That is very simply Bethany monetizing her online presence.
You social media presence can bring opportunities to speak at conferences, book deals and job-offers. When you become an authoritative voice in your field, people look up to you as an influencer. Your endorsement becomes important to brands. That could open a new career possibility as an influencer.

Choose your expertise

Before you go about sharing your views and opinions, please check with your employer if they have any objection to the content. Employers do not like sharing negative views about themselves or customers or competitors. So cite your information sources and check if what you are saying has your manager’s concurrence,
  1. Information and trends about your sector: Think about all the areas where you are an expert. It could be in the work that you do at your employers. Being part of the sector (eg. Retail, pharmaceuticals) could give you insights and ideas.
  2. Your hobbies and side hustles: Travel, photography, food, movies and anything else you can think of is a content creation opportunity. If you are contemplating switching careers to pursue a passion, then writing about that can be a great brand building strategy.
  3. Opinions and views: You could share your views about an incident that has happened. Make sure, it does not land your employer in trouble.

Choose your platform

Every social media channel has its own grammar and nuance. You can choose to put your content on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. These channels have the most traffic.
While there is great content on most social media channels, for building your professional presence, nothing beats LinkedIn. 645 million users on LinkedIn create “over 2 million posts, videos and articles course through the LinkedIn feed.” Here are some ways in which your content can get noticed on LinkedIn.
  1. Expertise plus relevance: LinkedIn is an online forum where you are meeting and engaging with your colleagues – both current and potential. Avoid sharing content and opinions about political or religious issues. Limit yourself to content that is relevant to the workplace. Leaving comments on a post helps people notice you.
  2. Make it interesting: Adding your own experience is a wonderful way to share ideas that your audience cannot simply Google and find. Don’t worry if you do not get a lot of views initially. Building an audience takes time. Find creative ways to tell your story.
  3. Build a habit: The best way to build an audience is to post content with a predictable frequency. Posting regularly beats posting great content once in a blue moon. If you tweet, then tweet as often as you eat.”
In a slow economy, the personal brand becomes even more important. A personal brand is just a shorthand for reputation. You can never build it by telling people how good you are. Others have to say so. Help them say just that.
If what you put online helps people, you build a reputation of being an expert. It takes time to build. You too can become an influencer in your domain. Influencers are simply the people who create great content that others value. The best day to start building your online presence is today.
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