Last week I had the opportunity to give a workshop on managing your professional online profile for WorkSource Snohomish County, just north of Seattle where I live. If you like you can see my presentation in my previous blog: LinkedIn Tips: Managing Your Professional On-line Profile or download the Professional On-line Profile slides. Even though a big part of the workshop was a nuts and bolts tour of LinkedIn I made the point that your professional online profile was more than your LinkedIn profile. Anyplace online where your name, image and contact information is available to the public should be considered as part of your professional online profile. I am not going to go into the differences between your professional and personal profiles here but you should be aware that the line is often blurred. My advice is if you are trying to find a job or use the internet to find clients and customers you should consider anything you put online as public and it should not distract from your professional profile.
Professional Online Profile Sites
There are a number of free sites online where you can establish a professional profile for yourself or for your business. Here are seven sites where you can put up a profile today.
- Google Profile: This is one of the free applications you get when you sign up for your free g-mail account so there is no reason not to set up your Google Profile. With your Profile you can upload a photo, enter your contact information and link your blog, twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. You can show photos from your free Picasa account and use Google’s new +1 application. The best part is if anyone searches on Google for your name you show up in the results. While you are at it list your business with Google Places.
- Plaxo: This is an online tool that helps you manage your address book and calendar. The paid version has some advanced features for syncing multiple accounts such as your g-mail and Outlook contact folders but you can get a free profile. The great thing about the free Plaxo profile is when you update your contact information, for example when you change your e-mail address or move, everyone you are connected to with a Plaxo account automatically gets your updated contact information.
- biznik: This is one of several business networking groups that is aimed at connecting local business people. You can log onto your local chapter and set-up a profile for free and connect with your local business community. The paid profile gives you more opportunities to promote yourself or your business but the free profile at least gets you established with an opportunity to be found.
- About.me: Is simply a place to put up a simple page that is just about you. You can get fancy or simple and have a site with your photo and contact information up in just a few minutes.
- Gravatar: Have you ever wondered why when you make a comment on someone’s blog other respondents have their picture or avatar next to their comment while you have a blank space? It’s because they have a profile set up on Gravatar. You can set up profiles for multiple e-mail accounts so you can have one photo or avatar for your business e-mail and a different photo for your personal e-mail or for any other persona you choose.
- FastPitch: Their goal is to be the Facebook for businesses. I’m not sure how well they are doing but it is possible to set up a professional profile or a business page in their application. They have a free account and a paid account that gives you more options. There are a number of sites that list businesses and let you put up information, links to your website and contact information. A few more are Hotfrog, Manta, or Zoominfo.
- LinkedIn: This is the biggest and most active database of professionals and businesses on the internet. At the very least you should have an updated profile and a good photo of yourself up on LinkedIn. LinkedIn should be one of your standard social media connections and the one that you check at least several times a week. Here is a great E-Book on managing your LinkedIn account.
There are many, many more sites where you can establish a professional online profile. Many groups, organizations and membership sites let you put up a profile with contact information and links to your website and social media accounts. Consider these as potential contact points for business or a future job. If you are trying to establish links back to your web site these profiles are an excellent place to start. See my blogs on 5 Tips for SEO Link Building and The importance of SEO Link Building.
Let me know about the sites you use for your professional online profile in the comments below. If you have questions about how to make your online profile work for you contact us at Image Media Partners for a free evaluation.
Photo Credit: Frank Thone-Smithsonian