Online Presence and Why You Need It

Entrepreneur magazine Inc recently published an article entitled "Start a Blog, Get Discovered" that explores the great benefits of having an online presence. The article followed a financial analyst who had a casual blog on the side that eventually landed him a large book deal. That analyst isn't the only one reaping the rewards of having a blog. The point I want to get across is that you need a website or blog, especially if you will be job hunting anytime soon.

A few months ago I read an insightful article about how more and more job recruiters are putting a heavy emphasis on applicants' online presence. By online presence, I am essentially referring to how active one is on the web - personal websites, blogs, published articles, activities on programming forums, etcetera. That same article detailed how recruiters hiring in technical positions would ignore applicants that while fully-qualified, lack the online presence that someone with their skills should have. If you're a Ruby on Rails programmer, there's no better way to show your passion for the framework by blogging about it, publishing tips and guides or simply helping others work with it. Companies will easily be able to see that, which definitely helps out during the interviewing and selection process.

If searching for your full name online comes up with nothing, my suggestion would be to buy a domain. You can create a simple website on the domain starting out with copy explaining who you are and what you do - a portfolio site basically. For the more ambitious, I encourage you to start a blog on that domain or setup a free hosted one on services like and link to it. There's literally nothing to lose except a few dollars for the domain and hosting. Having a website gives you the added benefit of being able to link to your site when commenting on blogs, another great way of exposure.

Then you can expand and manage your online presence with online identity services like ClaimID and Ziki (Ziki is more of a personal brand manager/portal). It's also a good idea to register the same user name at all of these online services so that someone searching for you online knows which accounts are yours.

In the last ~1.5 years that this blog has been up, I have received tremendous benefits. From job offers to be an IT guy in New York to working with Yahoo! and blogging for Intel in addition to weekly emails from people wanting me to join their startup and daily emails from PR people sending me press releases and news tips. And then there are the countless review products I have received.

However, the best thing I've done is put a contact form on this blog, making it (too) easy for anyone to reach me...

Contact FormThis screenshot was taken a long time ago. I receive more of these contact form emails now.

What ways do you establish and enhance your online presence?