Back to School: Online Branding for PT Students

Mashable (a leader in social media tips and news, I recommend you bookmark it) ran a great article today stressing the importance of online brand building for students. “A well-rounded web presence” is now an essential part of being noticed in today’s job market.

While you have a lot to juggle with PT school itself, investing some time online now will have a big payoff later on. Here are some key takeaways and tips any PT student should be able to master, no matter how hectic their schedule.

See How Employers See You

After perusing your resume and cover letter, the first thing a employer is going to do is Google you. The first page of a Google search is your online first impression, so you clearly want this to reflect well on you. When was the last time your Googled yourself? What comes up?

As the article points out, the worst thing an employer can see is something negative. On the other side of the coin, having nothing at all display doesn’t help you either. The good news is both of these issues can be solved at the same time.

Google’s algorithms favor authentic, dynamic content over much else. Blogging and social media platforms are big players in boosting your search rankings, often showing up in your first few results. By establishing yourself on major sites, you are not only working to flesh out your search results but creating content that will “push down” any undesired results.

Don’t fret, you don’t have to sign-up for extra classes in journalism to make a meaningful impact. Experts suggest posting every other day is enough, if not optimal.  Retweeting and sharing other user’s information you find interesting is a great way to start using social media and requires little time commitment. As our blogging guide for beginners points out, posts do not have to be long, simply thoughtful.

What’s In a Name?

One most look no further than Coca-Cola, one of the most recognized brands in the world, to see the importance of proper branding. Case and point, their logo is recognized by 94% of the population. Use your professional name consistently across all your social media platforms. Ideally, this will match your resume. The more search results associated with your name the better (bonus: this makes it easier to remember all of your different login information!)

Once you’ve established a name, you must establish your “niche”.  If you are interested in sports rehab, maybe more specifically for long distance runners, your online presence should reflect this. Put this in your bio across all your platforms. Follow and interact with authorities on the subject. Write about it. You need not be a robot with no other interests, well rounded is good, however it should be clear you fit in and are passionate about your niche.

Be Heard

Mashable interviewed career counselor Heather Huhman who attests to the importance of an online presence when hiring, “I have actually hired several people in the past because I first found their blog and I liked what they were saying.” This is a powerful statement. Blogs allow you to show an employer you personality in much more depth than an average one hour interview. In addition, relative to many other industries, there is a fairly finite number of PT blogs. Use this to your advantage.

Keep in mind showing your personality is good, yet what you publish must still remain professional. Everything you put online reflects who you are (and is pretty much permanent). Thus, it is important to employ the newspaper test. Author Alexandra Levit suggests that if you wouldn’t want what you are writing on the front page of the New York Times, don’t put it online.

Be Social

Social media, like face to face conversations, is a two-way street. Online networks allow you to have conversations with people you ordinary might not have the chance to, extremely valuable to learning and networking as well as establishing your brand. (See the story of a student who landed a job using the video social video chat service Airtime) According to Huhman, “Participating in the communities that exist out there and letting your voice be heard is definitely important.”

Check out our Social Pulse resources for more tips on online brand management. While you are at the beginning of the semester be sure to plan some time to work on building your foundation online.

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