Commenting on forums demonstrates your ability tap into your expertise and help solve other people’s problems. Employers will search for your name in Google, and they will find the forum comments you’ve left – which is a good thing. Use forum comments as a way to strengthen the digital breadcrumbs you leave behind.
Your goal is to stand out from your peers in a super-competitive market by making employers think, this person not only knows their stuff, but actively goes out of their way to use what they know to help other people. This is the kind of impression that will help elevate you above other job applicants and win better job opportunities.
Employers want to see you commenting on forums because it demonstrates to them that you’re an active member of your niche, you’re passionate enough to participate in conversations related to your area of expertise, and you’re intelligent enough to solve problems by drawing on your experience.
When posting on forums, here’s a checklist that will ensure you’re leaving as strong an impression as possible.
Forum comment checklist:
Your forum comment…
- Accurately and concisely answers someone else’s question
- Includes facts and links to back up claims you make (prove your thoughts are credible and not pulled out of nowhere)
- Adds value or new ideas to the original question
- Has no spelling or grammar mistakes (it can’t be edited later)
- Relates to your area of expertise
- Does not involve you in unnecessary battles or arguments
- Is not hyper-reactive (doesn’t make you seem emotionally unstable)
- Does not put anyone down (if arguing, provide counterpoints but don’t attack individuals)
- Includes your name (the one you want people to find you with when they search for you in Google)
- Includes a link to your website (boosting the Google rank of your site and leading more people there)
- Includes your tagline (a short phrase that describes to strangers what you do)
Responding to posts on forums leaves a trail of “digital breadcrumbs” that people (employers, co-workers, bosses, etc.) will find when they type your name into Google.
Warning: Healthy discussions on forums can quickly degrade into outright personal attacks and name-calling if you aren’t careful. Make sure you take a completely objective approach to answering questions. Do not claim to know all the answers – humility goes a long way. Remember that viewers can’t hear your voice to decode the way you really want to get your point across, so always err on the side of caution by staying out of personal battles.
Blog comments, forums comments, book reviews and contributing to wiki articles are just a few ways to leave a trail of breadcrumbs online that builds a web presence worthy of remark, differentiating you from other job applicants who haven’t spent time to establish a strong presence online.
Author: Pete Kistler