Developing Your Online Personal Brand
In today’s job market, your online personal brand can have a major impact on the success of your job search. According to a 2017 study from CareerBuilder, close to 60% of employers said they were less likely to interview candidates they couldn’t find online. 54% also said they had decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles.
With companies increasingly conducting formal social media checks in addition to background and criminal checks, the way you appear online matters. Our digital footprint defines us, and a positive personal brand can give you an advantage in your hunt for the perfect job.
What should your digital footprint look like?
The answer to this question depends on your career path. In certain creative fields like graphic design and film editing, it’s important to maintain a robust presence on visual social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. For other job seekers, a LinkedIn account may suffice.
In the social media age, the things you do and say online have a lasting impact. Unfortunately, many recruitment agencies have seen qualified candidates lose out on positions because of content they shared on social media years earlier. If you maintain personal social media accounts, consider reviewing your privacy settings. These can be adjusted to regulate which posts appear publicly and which are visible only to family and close friends. The content you share publicly should be suitable for the boardroom – assume that future employers will see everything you post.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to share content that sheds light on your personality, your interests, and the skills and talents that aren’t included on your resume. Discuss and share ideas regarding your industry and other interests. Your online personal brand should give employers a better understanding of who you are and why you’ll be a great fit with their team.
Focus on LinkedIn
Recruitment agencies and hiring managers spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. It’s where they go to find additional information about applicants and seek out prospective hires. As such, it’s important to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and accurate. The information on your profile should match the info on your resume, your cover letter, your personal website, and other public-facing online accounts.
Even though LinkedIn is predominantly a professional network, many of the same rules that apply to other social media platforms also apply here. There are plenty of opportunities to show off your personality on LinkedIn. Don’t hesitate to engage with contacts’ posts or share industry news and information. This kind of activity can help build your network and indicates to prospective employers that you’re genuinely interested and engaged in your field.
As with other social networks, it’s important to keep an eye on your privacy settings on LinkedIn. Not only can you curate what information is visible to the public, LinkedIn also has special options for job hunters. In the “job seeking preferences” section of your privacy settings, you can signal to recruiters that you’re open to opportunities without broadcasting that information to your current employer. You can also signal your interest to recruiters at specific companies and share your profile with companies when you submit an application.
As both job seekers and recruitment agencies know, the job market is changing. The way you appear online has never mattered more. As hiring managers turn to social media to learn more about candidates, a curated online brand can improve your chances of securing an interview. If you’re feeling stuck in your job search, take some time to review your social media properties, especially LinkedIn. Adjust privacy settings and refine content to improve the image you broadcast to the world.
Remember: your digital footprint defines you, and your personal brand could be the x-factor that helps you land the job.