Making a name for yourself

6 05 2009

With summer looming right before me as I wrap up my second year of college, I’m on the job hunt.

Because most newspapers and news organizations have an online presence, it’s important for student journalists like me to understand the resources and abilities the Web provides.

It’s called free advertising!

with the capabilities of the Internet, the idea of mailing a resume and work examples have become somewhat outdated.

Instead of a prospective employer looking at the job application you sent via snail mail, they’re most likely going to look you up on the Web. Or maybe the application you sent to their email looks great on paper, but things about you online say otherwise. Or even worse – nothing.

Whether it is Googling your name, clicking on your profile page on Myspace or Facebook or reading Tweets that will come back to haunt you, you’re leaving a trail of virtual breadcrumbs to who you are online.

This gives you all the more reason to know the importance of name branding yourself online.

Try “ego-surfing” (typing your name in Google). What do you see? Are the first couple of search results linking to your various social networking sites and other pages that could potentially give a name for yourself, or are you lost under the other hundreds of thousands of Joes and Janes?

Here is a screen capture of mine:

Correct ES capture

Not too shabby (minus the annoying name correction suggestion). In the first six results listed, all of them belong to me and five of the six are some sort of social networking links. Now I must write a disclaimer.

The reason why I decided to brand myself as “Yong Kyle Kim” vs. “Yong Kim” is the fact that there are infinitely way more Yong Kims in the world than Yong Kyle Kims. With this point, there might already be someone with your name that already has some name recognition. If this is the case, be creative. You want to create a name that is professional, recognizable and memorable.

Professionals have told me many times that nowadays, it’s who you know more than what you know. And it makes things a lot easier for your potential employers to see that you are serious about making a name for yourself online and creating a Web presence that will work for you instead of against you.

One way to do that is to make a blog. There are several blog providers you can use that offer their services for free (Blogger and WordPress being the more popular ones). Blog about something you’re passionate about or you will soon end up finding blogging as a chore than a fun activity. For me, my blog goes hand in hand with my interests in journalism, which is killing two birds with one stone.

Below is a modified list from the Byline Group I made specifically to name branding for blogs. Some might be irrelevant to you (you can even omit “blog” with something related) but try thinking through these questions:

Begin the process by asking yourself the following fundamental questions:

  • What does your blog do? (in 10 words or less)
  • Why does your blog exist?
  • What is your blog striving to become?
  • What core values guide your blog’s behavior?
  • How is your blog unique? What separates it from the rest of the pack?
  • What solution does your blog sell? What does it promise and deliver?
  • What is your blog’s key strength/advantage over your competitors?
  • Who is your target audience? Describe what is special/unique about it.
  • What compels people to buy and use your blog’s product/service? What are their hot buttons?

Want to make a name for yourself? Here are three things you can do right now to do so:

Additional Links:

Technorati Top 100 Blogs

15 Tips to a Better Blog with WordPress

Owning your name in search, variations and nuances

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One response

24 05 2009
Lessons learned from snagging an internship at the L.A. Daily News « Digital Journalist

[…] Create a social network, both offline (advice #1) and online. It’s important to make a presence. Let people know you care and are interested. Create a Facebook profile, starting Twittering, get linked in or make a blog. […]

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