Online Branding For Teachers
Today’s Guest Blog is by Sarah Fudin who currently works in community relations for University of Southern California Rossier School of Education’s online master’s programs. USC Rossier Online provides current and aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching online and ESL certification. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.
Online branding has become an important career building tool, especially for professionals like teachers who work in the public service sector. There’s no denying that when you’re searching for a job, your online reputation can play a critical role (for better or worse) in determining whether employers decide to make you part of their organization. Creating and maintaining a personal online brand that highlights your skills and accomplishments is a great way to enhance your professional image and avoid a negative online reputation.
Here are some tips for building a professional online brand that will impress employers, contacts and anyone who can help build your career:
Know Your Online Brand
You may already have an online brand and not even know it. Google your full name in quotes and check the results. Ideally, you should see links to your professional profile on social media and job search websites, and links to professional blogs posts or articles that you’ve published online. Get in the habit of checking your brand on a regular basis to make sure it promotes a professional image.
Scrub Your Social Media Identity
The Internet has become the perfect way to share personal information with friends and family, and to give permanence to life’s important milestones. The downside is that you may not have had the foresight to realize that you would live to regret the photos and comments that you posted online in high school or college.
If you’re worried about the impression that your online social identity will make on future employers and the parents of students, it’s time to clean up your social media profiles and posts. Use privacy settings to hide personal information that’s unrelated to your career. You may even want to invest in the services of an online reputation management service or find out about free services, like Google’s “Me on the Web,” to help scrub unprofessional online references.
Create an Online Presence
Once you are confident that your online identity is entirely professional, you can begin to build your online presence. Craft a personal mission statement that reflects your professional goals and post it in your online profiles. Include information about your educational background, professional history, strengths, aspirations and special abilities.
A well-written blog that focuses on your teaching expertise is a good way to showcase your writing skills and contribute to your professional development. You can also create your own professional website to publish an online resume and a digital portfolio of your work.
In addition to publishing content on your website or blog, share your expertise by commenting on other blogs and becoming active in education forums (including a link back to your website or blog with each comment to increase its visibility and traffic).
Contribute to your professional development by completing online training andparticipating in webinars and other online educational events. With all your online contacts, strive to project the image of a dedicated professional who is actively engaged in the teaching profession.
Grow Your Professional Network
Online professional networking is an invaluable job search tool. It can also help you exchange ideas outside your circle of face-to-face contacts and stay current with education trends. Make an effort to grow a targeted network of professional contacts; “targeted” means that you should be selective about who you include in your network, focusing on individuals who can enhance your career or professional standing. If there are leaders in the field of education that you admire, try to contact them online. You never know when a quick appreciative email can turn into a future career opportunity.
Stay Focused on Your Brand
Building your professional brand and maintaining your online reputation are ongoing tasks. Even if you’re currently employed and not actively seeking work, your online brand can help advance your career. In can also provide valuable contacts in case you are searching for a job in the future. By devoting even a few minutes per day to your online brand, you will be able to create an impressive online presence that sets you apart from other professional educators.