5 Tips for Advancing Your Career Online

Tips for Advancing Your Career Online
The idea that you can advance your career using the internet probably doesn’t seem like a revolutionary idea. It might even spark a, “Well, duh!” But the truth is that most professionals are doing little, if anything, to leverage the access and opportunities they have available.

The tools, resources, and opportunities are available online. It’s up to you to access them. Here are several tips and suggestions for doing just that.

1. Create or Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is more than a glorified digital resume platform for job seekers. It’s actually one of the most powerful professional networking platforms in the world. Not only should you be spending regular time on LinkedIn on a weekly basis, but you should have a fully optimized LinkedIn profile.

When creating/optimizing your LinkedIn profile, there are a few key areas to focus on:

  • Job title and description: This is where you put your job role. Try to be as descriptive as possible. In other words, don’t just put “lawyer” when you could use something like “lawyer helping innocent people keep their freedom.”

  • Profile picture: Use a professional headshot that’s been taken within the past two years.

  • Banner: Your banner is basically your digital billboard. Use it to showcase your career accomplishments and focus. If you’re in a business where you’re responsible for generating sales, use the banner to include a specific call-to-action to your ideal prospect.

  • About: The about section is where you bring yourself to life. Avoid the corporate resume-speak here. Instead, clearly communicate how you help others achieve their goals and dreams. (This could include other businesses – as in employers – or individuals – like clients.)

  • Work experience: Include any relevant work experience and accomplishments here. Avoid jobs that do not relate to your current line of work (i.e. your part-time job bar tending in college).

2. Build a Simple Website for Yourself

In addition to having a LinkedIn profile, it’s a good practice to have your own professional website. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but something is better than nothing.

Start by purchasing a domain name for your website. (FirstLastName.com is the ideal option. If it’s not available, some similar variation will do.) Next, build a simple one-page website that lists your accomplishments and showcases your skills.

Finally, link to this website on your business card, LinkedIn profile, email signature, etc.

3. Take Online Courses

There are thousands of online courses available. Some are free and others are fairly inexpensive. But even the ones that cost a pretty penny tend to generate a positive ROI (for both your time and money).

You can take courses that help you grow in your existing career (like leadership development courses). Or you can take courses to get certified in totally new industries. For example, you can take a course to get your real estate license online.

4. Watch Free Educational Content

You don’t have to take a full-on course to embrace career development. There’s plenty of free educational content on YouTube channels and in podcasts. In fact, you can piece together an entire education simply by consuming this content. (The key is to make sure you’re listening to the right sources.)

5. Join Facebook Groups and Message Boards

For the most part, Facebook is nothing but a huge time-waster. As soon as you click that little app icon on your phone, you’re instantly transported into a black hole of cat memes, prank videos, and political posts. But there’s actually a useful side to Facebook: groups.

There are thousands of niche, career-focused Facebook groups where people come together to share ideas, encourage one another, and network. If you can find the right ones, Facebook can actually turn into a net positive for your career.

The same goes with message boards (though these are mostly on the way out). Topical subreddits (on Reddit.com) related to your career are another option.

Adding it All Up

The beauty of the online world is that it’s accessible and ever-growing. If you put your mind to it, you can use resources like LinkedIn, websites, online courses, YouTube videos, Facebook groups, and other related platforms to advance your career faster and more efficiently.

Now’s the time to lean in and take full advantage of everything you can.