A couple weeks ago we showed you how to create a personal/resume website – a cool way to really stand out and showcase more information about you than what can fit on a paper resume. This week we’re going to dial it back a bit and show you a decent alternative if you feel a website is more than you want to take on or if you want to do more than a website.
Online profiles are different than personal/resume websites in that they display information about not just you but hundreds or thousands of other hygienists in a fairly rigid layout. Like a personal site you can post as much or little as you want (your resume, reference material, pictures, and more detail about who you are). Also like a personal site, the idea is to invite potential employers to learn more about you there. You put the site address on your resume, business cards, postcards, in your e-mail signature line and anywhere else you can think of.
It’s still very unique to do this – most hygienists will only offer up an e-mail address. But that fact will intrigue a dental office to check it out. Back in the “old days” I remember people creating a CD ROM with their resume on it and sending it out. Very few people would do this so it was almost guaranteed the receiver would pop it into their computer just out of curiosity. CDs are pretty much dead, but you can still benefit from the curiosity factor by offering offices a different view of who you are through an online profile or personal website.
So what’s better – an online profile or your own website? Your own website gives you a lot more control over what you can include and how it looks. On the other hand, an online profile is easier and faster to create and offers you some social connectivity. So I am going to tell you that you should do both. They both have their pluses and minuses and are for sure worth doing.
But are all online profiles created equal? Not by a long shot. So today’s post is going to give you a review and recommendation on the ones we’ve taken a look at. We know there are many others out there so if you’ve had a good experience with one let us know.
These are all valuable tools you can use, and you really should explore all of them because each is unique and your experience might be better on one of the lesser recommendations. We’ve looked a dozens of them and narrowed a list down to the top five and then are offering up three honorable mentions.
You could probably make a case that this is more than enough profile for anyone. And with good reason. At 110 million users, LinkedIn is the third most popular social media platform on the Internet (obviously behind Facebook and Twitter). And it’s sole focus (unlike the top two) is career networking through your online profile.
If you are looking for a job or still have at least 5-10 years of career left (with only a slight chance of changing jobs before you retire) you really should create a LinkedIn account and start using it.
Here’s why. First, it allows you add all your cover letter and resume content in a similar format; Second, it allows you to create connections and directly communicate with other hygienists and dental professionals; and third, it gives you forums to share best practices and network with hygienists and industry professionals.
Okay, now for the bad news. As big as it is, it’s still just a infant in terms of how well people use it. You will find that many people have simply created a shell of a profile and then abandoned it. But you should know that’s changing every day as more and more are seeing its value and embracing it with greater intensity. It will never be Facebook, but Facebook will never be LinkedIn either.
As it matures, LinkedIn is getting better, more user-friendly and providing more opportunities to create meaningful connections with your peers.
For example, LinkedIn now offers “endorsements” this is where a fellow hygienist or dentist you have worked with can vouch for your skills and abilities and virtually tag you as skilled in various areas. Marketers call this “social proof” – a validation that you are who you claim to be and it carries a lot of weight.
Have we convinced you yet? I hope so because I have other online profile sites I want to share with you but for sure get a LinkedIn account, start using it and then look at one or more of these others we share next.
This is sort of an alternative that can be pretty powerful in its own right. Have you ever considered using Facebook to host your profile?
There’s a couple ways to do it. First, most obvious, is to simply turn your current profile into one that is more professional. We see lots of people do this who really don’t look at Facebook as a way to connect with friends on a personal level but rather share things that are more applicable to their careers or profession. That’s totally fine! Just make sure your privacy settings are set so that they are visible to everyone.
Another way, though, is to either create an additional profile page for your career YOU or create a business page that instead of highlighting a traditional product or service, features YOU.
With Facebook, it’s pretty simple to toggle back and forth between pages you manage and your profile, but not very easy to toggle between two profiles – simply because Facebook wants you to only have one profile. So we would encourage you to create a business page rather than a second profile page for simplicity sake.
Tracie did this and to this day, even though she is not actively searching or using the page, still gets friend requests for it. It’s just a cool way to profile yourself and offers you many of the same benefits LinkedIn has, plus a much larger and more active audience. Click here to see Tracie’s Facebook professional profile page: https://www.facebook.com/TraciePerryRDH
3. Other Top-Tier Social Sites You Could Use:
There are those who are using Google+, Twitter, and even Pinterest as a platform for their professional profile. The only thing we would suggest about that is to try and get a sense of where your audience is.
I know, for example, that the Google+ crowd is mostly folks in the high-tech industry (not exclusively, just mostly). Twitter lacks the ability to include much profile information about yourself, but is excellent at building contacts. And, Pinterest is similar to Twitter but in a more visual way.
Most employers don’t fully look at these three platforms to get the basics about a person’s professional background. Rather they mostly use them to get a sense of who the person is behind the resume. So we list them, but only so you are aware they are an option, not so much as the best way.
I really like About.Me. It’s visually-rich and super easy to create. It’s also a nice way to introduce yourself to potential employers. It’s free to use, but if you want to really blow it out and make it look incredible it’s only $4 per month. The downside to it is that it’s pretty stripped down – it doesn’t give you much room to tell your whole story. But it’s awesome at introducing you in a nutshell and allows you to truly brand yourself (gonna talk more about branding yourself in a future post). It’s almost like it’s a handshake, elevator pitch and done. Because it’s so easy to create, I would highly recommend getting it created, show the top three things employers should know about you, then link to where they can get more information about you (your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
And, here’s mine (it was actually kinda fun to create): http://about.me/douglaswperry
When you get past the “clunky-ness” of VisualCV it can be a nice way to profile your information. I just found it more difficult to set up and use than the others above and it really doesn’t have the social touch of the others so I would look at it as something you could try, see if you like it but don’t waste a lot of time on it if you start getting confused. I tried to do a search of dental hygienists on it and came up empty. Maybe I was doing it wrong.
I did find a page that an RN has done and it looks nice, so I think there’s hope if you want to dig a little deeper than I tried. Here’s her page: http://www.visualcv.com/carolrn2
There are lots of others like VisualCV, but I honestly couldn’t find one that was as good as VisualCV and since it wasn’t overly impressive, I won’t bother listing the others I looked at. But I would like to hear if you find one that works well or that you really like.
Honorable Mention – Dental Industry Specific
Okay the people who created these sites probably won’t like that I have lumped them all in at the end as “honorable mention” but I have to give my honest opinion, right? I think the intent of each of these is good and perhaps they are making strides to get better. Having said that, yes, you should check them out because in addition to being entirely focused on the dental industry, and giving you a profile on their site, they post job openings and provide other services you might find useful. So here they are:
Bonus Tip: On LinkedIn we’ve create a Group Forum called Landing a Great Dental Hygiene Job. The community is still young but we encourage you to join as we want it to be a great resource for you to share ideas and ask questions. Click here to visit/join our group!