What potential employers see and read about you online can directly influence your career prospects. So, how can you make sure you to stand out from the crowd for the right reasons when applying for your dream job?
To answer this question, Bianca Miller-Cole, runner-up of The Apprentice 2014 and serial entrepreneur reveals why it’s so important to pay attention to how you come across online. Bianca has gone from accomplishment to accomplishment since leaving university, and has used a personal domain space to continue to grow her personal brand.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got to where you are now?
I graduated with a business management and economics degree in the middle of the recession and I found getting a job was more difficult than I expected. I eventually got offered a temping opportunity at Accenture, a management and technology consultancy firm. Suddenly, I found myself as HR adviser to 350 graduates. I worked really hard, learnt as much as I could, and was offered a permanent position. I spent two and a half years at Accenture and it set me out on my journey into the business world.
What piece of advice would you give your student self?
Have awareness of your personal brand and the effect it can have on your career prospects. Going through secondary school and university, a lot of focus was placed on academic ability. I’ve since learnt that for those who succeed, it is down to more than just that.
With changes in technology a really important factor in getting a job is your online presence and visibility, as well as your face-to-face interaction, networking and other communication skills. Most people have degrees now, so you need find other ways to differentiate yourself and get ahead.
Should you Google yourself before applying for a job?
Employers will almost certainly perform a search and look at your online presence including your social profiles. If you haven’t made the effort to take a look at what’s out there you might be in for a shock!
Look at whether what comes up reflects who you are and how you want to be perceived, whether the images that come up in an image search are appropriate, and if there’s anything online from years ago that might not reflect who you are now or what you would like your potential employers to see.
Why should students create a personal website instead of just using social media?
Having a personal website can be a great way to showcase your creativity and who you are. Think of it as your very own shopfront where you can display who you are, what you can do and what you’re interested in. It can also be a place to showcase your skills, write a blog about your interests or even a place for you to display your CV, whatever you decide to do with your website it’s a guaranteed way of standing out from the crowd.
Have you got any tips for students thinking about what domain name to register?
If you are a UK student applying for a job in the UK, it is definitely worth considering a .uk domain name, as it helps with your personal branding and easily illustrates you are based in the UK. Choosing the right domain will also give you a more professional-looking email address.
You can check whether the UK domain name you would like is available on theukdomain.uk.
How can students get started creating a website?
Ecohosting is running a great offer at the moment. For £14.99 you get a year’s web hosting, a personalised email address and a domain name. You can find out more about this offer at students.ecohosting.co.uk
What other tip would you give students before they start applying for jobs?
Think about where you want to work and what you think you’d like to do. It’s also important to think why you’re the best fit for that organisation and what can you do for them. When you’re looking at companies, make sure you spend time exploring their website and social media profiles. Find out about them, how they support the community and social causes, and use LinkedIn to find out more about their current employees.
Bianca Miller-Cole is a brand ambassador for the .uk domain names, and managing director and founder of The Be Group and Bianca Miller London. Passionate about helping others improve their personal brand, she frequently shares her expertise with students at events and forums around the country. For students wanting to boost their online brand with their own website, Bianca recommends visiting ecohosting; packages will be on offer to those who would like to create a .uk domain name.