Compiled by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Experts agree that job-seekers — and even those not in the market but open to a job change — increasingly need to be able to be found online. And just being found isn’t enough. If you’re looking for work, you need your digital presence to express your personal brand and not to express anything unsavory about you. You can find many resources for developing your personal brand in our section, Personal Branding & Career Self-Marketing Articles and Tools. But you may still may be left wondering what a well-branded digital presence looks like.
That’s why we’re providing a roundup of examples of individuals with a well-branded digital presence for themselves or their businesses. How did we select these folks? After receiving numerous self-nominations, we selected the individuals listed here.
- Their Websites or blogs convey a strong sense of who they are and what they have to offer.
- The site visitor can easily learn about the individual on the opening page of the site or on an “About me” page.
- They have branded themselves in interesting and compelling ways.
- The person seems like someone you’d like to get to know better. Bonus points for having a warmth-projecting photo of himself or herself on the site.
Keep in mind that a well-branded presence should ideally correlate with search-engine optimization (SEO); in other words, an employer or other visitor should be able to easily find the individual on the Web and see many positive mentions of the person beyond his or her own Website or blog. Most of the well-branded folks we list could do a better job of optimizing their digital presence for search engines. We evaluated their SEO based on:
- How many mentions of their name come up in a search.
- Whether a search using keywords related to the person’s profession or personal passion shows the person on the first page of the search results.
- The Google Page Rank of the person’s site or blog (Google’s ranking of the “importance” of the site.)
- Use of the person’s name as the domain name for his or her site or blog.
To learn more about how to add SEO to your branded digital presence, read our article, SEO for Job-seekers: 10 Tips for Building Your Brand and Being Found Online by Employers and Recruiters.
Here are some examples of a well-branded digital presence:
- Career Impact Strategist Lydia C. Fernandes, who notes on her eponymous site that her story is still unfolding.
- Social networking, Internet marketing, and new media expert Jennifer Goodwin, whose branded story at ThatJenGirl focuses on her two passions: making money on the Internet and being green, organic, holistic (and teaching others to do the same).
- “Chief Happiness Officer” Tina Su, who relates at her site Think Simple Now that she “left a high paying job to pursue my passion, and have dedicated my full time attention to studying the fields of personal transformation, fulfillment, healthy living and human potential.”
- Entrepreneurs with something to say about the world of medicine, such as Bob Hawkinson, author of The Joy of Diabetes, who writes at the Web site of the same name, “I was lucky enough to be proclaimed diabetic in 1963 and it’s been a cake-walk ever since…yeah right.” And Trisha Torrey, who became an advocate for patients through her site after she was misdiagnosed with cancer. Torrey has also optimized her site well for search engines.
- Young entrepreneurs who got an early start on their branded online presence, such as Lily Capehart, whose story is told on the Web site Lizard-Ville. Lily “discovered she can ‘hypnotize’ lizards at the age of 10 and began to dress up and pose the lizards in miniature sets.”
- Comedians and humorists who project snarkiness in their online presence, such as Chad Riden and Ben Rosenfeld, whose site announces “Ben is an egomaniac who can’t share the spotlight with anyone. After he got booed at karaoke for the umpteenth time, Ben realized he had only two choices: performing stand up or playing tennis — and he can’t play tennis drunk.”
- Kimberlie Dykeman of Pure Soapbox, whose “About” page describes her as “one of those people you don’t soon forget. If her smile and laugh don’t get you first, her energy will. She is a woman on a mission. And her passion is overflowing, if not contagious. … Kimberlie exudes a charismatic, vivacious presence that has fueled a loyal following and countless success stories.”
- Kelly Rigotti of Almost Frugal, whose “About” page is in the form of a Q&A about her. (She uses only her first name on the site; we’d like to see her full name).
- Tsh Oxenreider, who offers inviting photos of herself and her kids on her blog, Simple Mom, and whose “About” page says: “My name is Tsh (it’s pronounced ‘Tish,’ and yes, that’s how it’s spelled on my birth certificate. No typo.). I’m a wife, a mom to two littles, an American expat, a graphic designer, a writer, an avid coffee drinker, and a friend.”
- “Johnny Jet,” whose travel-deal site is more commercial than personal but who does offer a meaty story about himself on his “About” page.
- Colleen Wainwright, “the Communicatrix,” whose site uses strong visual branding — a black and white graphic that echoes the Tina-Fey-ish photo on her “About” page. There, she says, “Colleen Wainwright is a writer-teacher-whojamawhatsit who started calling herself ‘the communicatrix’ when she hit three hyphens.” Wainwright also has a good, social-media-optimized page called Find Me Elsewhere that contains links to her profiles on a number of social-media sites.
- Music marketer Bob Baker has a prominent section on his opening page called “What about Bob” that describes his key value proposition and links to a longer bio. Underneath this section is a video of testimonials about his books.
- Thumbnail photos featuring Pirillo’s face comprise a significant branding aspect of the eponymous site of Chris Pirillo, founder of a Web community for geeks. His “About” page describes him as a Geek, Internet Entrepreneur, Hardware Addict, Software Junkie, Book Author, Once TV Show Host, Technology Enthusiast, Shameless Self-Promoter, Tech Conference Coordinator, Early Adopter, Idea Evangelist, Tech Support Blogger, Bootstrapper, Media Personality, Technology Consultant, Thicker Quicker Picker Upper.
We have advised that job-seekers who do not have (or plan to have) their own Websites or blogs should at least have a complete and compelling profile on LinkedIn. Here are samples of great profiles (registration/login at LinkedIn may be required to see these). CEO coach Deb Dib shared most of these in an article about LinkedIn:
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
Be sure to take advantage of all the career branding tools, articles, and resources found in our Personal Branding & Career Self-Marketing Articles and Tools section of Quintessential Careers.