It’s a fair guess that you reach for your mobile, tablet or PC and you Google them. Your potential employers are not likely to be any different – they will be Googling you to see what they can find out.
That’s food for thought isn’t it? What will they find? And is it what you would like them to see?
Take control of your digital footprint now
The good news is that you can take control of your digital footprint and use this knowledge as a way to market yourself into a dream job.
By buying your own personal domain name you can ensure that the first thing employers find out about you is exactly what you want to show them.
You’ll have your own personal brand space online, your own personalised email address, a dedicated online area where you can detail your achievements and showcase your portfolio.
Now that is going to impress, isn’t it?
You will give yourself that all important edge.
Giving yourself the edge couldn’t be easier
We spoke to Nominet who manage the UK internet with great domains like .co.uk and the new shorter .uk domain.
They told us that the cost associated with building, maintaining and running your own website and personalised domain/email address is minimal compared to its potential benefits.
You can buy your own domain name (which you need for your website and email address) for as little as only a couple of pounds per annum. And if you want the email and website hosted and live that can cost only a few pounds per month. Then you can have your own website and a professional personalised email address.
There are many free to use web builder templates (like Word Press) that can help you get your personal brand built quickly and that can be developed further as your confidence and experience grows.
You do need to be 18 to own a domain but – should you wish to start earlier – your parents could buy a web domain and email address for you, and then transfer it to you on your 18th birthday.
There’s a present that will be with you for the rest of your life!
Building your own online brand
One person who clearly demonstrates the benefits of building their own online brand is Bianca Miller, runner up on the 2014 The Apprentice and serial entrepreneur.
We asked her to outline how this has helped her grow her career and how it can do the same for you too.
Bianca has gone from accomplishment to accomplishment since leaving university and has used a personal domain space to consistently market herself.
She is now the award-winning director and founder of The Be Group, that helps people from all walks of life to market themselves into a better future.
She certainly practices what she preaches – and you may have seen her in action on the BBC’s `The Apprentice`, where she finished in second place after a hotly contested final.
Here’s her story and her advice to you.
When did you first have your own website and what was it for?
My first website was created for my business in 2012.
I used it as a tool when explaining the business ethos and benefits to potential clients.
Why do you think it is important for university students to have their own online identity?
One of the first things people do when reviewing a potential candidate for a role, or to use as a potential supplier, is to Google them.
Having an online identity that you control is an essential part of creating a personal brand. The beauty of being able to create your own website is that you are able to decide what you want the world to see about you.
You have the power to create an online personal brand that truly represents you, the experiences you have and the plans you have for the future.
What advice would you give to students about to take their first step into employment?
The more forward thinking types of students are already hosting their CV and portfolio online on their own secure websites. Many now also create digital content, whether a blog, artwork, music tracks, video or some product or service, which can be more powerfully demonstrated with testimonial online.
This is one of the most effective ways that students can make themselves stand out from the crowd and be more attractive to employers.
How has your personal domain space helped you?
Promoting yourself, as well as your brand online, is essential today. The most effective way to do this is by having a personalised domain.
When I was introduced to the new .uk web domain name it made sense to me to use this. My business is UK based and here was an opportunity to create a safe and trusted professional domain that represents both my location and the name of my business.
Having your own space online gives you the opportunity to promote your business and yourself to your audiences and to mark out a unique niche.
Now it’s your turn
If you are looking to set yourself apart, give yourself the edge and mark out a unique niche for yourself then you can find out more about setting up your own personalised domain here.
And perhaps your digital footprint will see you going one step further than Bianca and winning a future series of ‘The Apprentice’.
If not it will certainly place those magical words – ‘You’re hired’ – one step closer when you apply for that dream job.