You found the perfect job opportunity. Not only are you qualified for it, but also you love the company and are excited to join the team.
After you apply, don’t just hope to hear back. The best way to land your ideal job opportunity is to be proactive.
Job-Hunt.org conducted a survey and found that 51 percent of employers and HR professionals say they do not consider candidates who don’t follow up after they submit an application. In other words, you’re more likely to be passed over if you don’t at least send an email to your potential employer.
Following up is just one aspect of your strategy. You need to build a strong online presence, as well. Our survey also found that 61 percent of employers and HR professionals agree managing your online reputation is important.
The best time to start is now. It’s important to develop an authentic representation of who you are as you search for jobs. By being proactive, you are ready to impress potential employers.
Here’s what you need to do to manage your online presence to stay competitive and earn your dream job opportunity.
1. Learn how to optimize.
Chances are when employers get your application they’re going to look you up. In fact, our survey found that 17 percent of employers and HR professionals say the first thing they do is search for the candidate on Google.
The good news is, you can influence what they find online. First, determine what keywords you want to rank for. These might be skills, certifications and job titles. To rank for these in the results, start creating content online through a personal website, a blog or another outlet like Medium.
When you create content, make sure you know the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). Essentially, search engines look for content that comes from a credible authority and delivers value to the user.
Keep in mind, our survey found 40 percent of employers only check the first page of results. Ensure you include relevant keywords so Google ranks your content high.
It also helps to build a website with your name in the domain. This way, when they search your name, they will find your optimized website where you can include your current resume and a portfolio of your work.
2. Define your expertise.
Being an expert can define your employee brand and make you stand out from the competition. In fact, our research found that 28 percent of employers say a candidate’s industry specific knowledge is the most important aspect of their online presence.
Think about what you want potential employers to know about your industry knowledge.
For example, if you work in marketing, define what specific domain you are an expert in. This could be paid advertising, social media marketing, or another field within your career.
When you look at your past experiences, highlight the skills and accomplishments that are associated with and demonstrate your expertise. This way, you can use your knowledge to inform others.
3. Continue to educate.
Once you know what strengths you want to promote, develop a content strategy that allows you to continually educate your audience. When you deliver value on a consistent basis, you can become an industry thought leader.
Employers like to see various kinds of content. Our survey found that the forms they consider to be the best quality are online courses, instructional articles and ebooks.
As you continue to optimize your content and build a body of relevant work, you can earn more followers. Creating various forms of content to educate others shows employers you’re creative, passionate and an effective communicator.
4. Join groups online.
As you prove your expertise and educate people in your industry, your professional network becomes invaluable. In fact, our survey found that 38 percent of employers said they consider professional organization memberships to be a requirement in candidates.
However, just joining these groups is not enough. Stay engaged with other members, attend events and meet people.
Bottom line: employers want to see you engaging in your industry, sharing ideas, seeking out learning opportunities and staying informed.
5. Stay connected.
Our survey found nearly one out of 10 employers said candidates who comment in LinkedIn groups increase their chances of getting contacted for an interview. Furthermore, 13 percent of employers consider commentary in industry chats, through outlets like LinkedIn groups or Quora answers, to be high-quality content.
Publicly commenting helps show that you’re interested and passionate about your industry and excited to offer your insights to others. Dedicate some time throughout the week to connect with others and stay engaged.
Your online presence is an ever-evolving project. As your career progresses, share your new skills and what you learn. This will not only help you earn your ideal job opportunity, it will also keep you learning and growing as a professional.
(Susan P. Joyce)
This story originally appeared on Glassdoor