by Nancy Yu
We live in a very social world. With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there are many ways people can share the moments of their lives for everyone to see – including future employers and hiring managers. Although some people choose to remain private, using social media to build your personal brand can actually work to your benefit. If you are job hunting, a lot of potential employers want to learn more about you before meeting you. When that happens, you want to represent yourself the way you want to be viewed.
What do you want to achieve?
Think about the objective for your personal brand. If you want to grow your professional network, consider investing in building a strong presence in LinkedIn. Polish your profile and update it frequently. Consider joining professional groups, whether it be in engineering, healthcare, or sales and marketing. It is helpful to establish connections. If you are a graphic designer, photographer, or writer, consider using Pinterest and Instagram to showcase your work. If you want to engage in conversation or form new networks with other people in your industry, Twitter does a great job facilitating live discussion. It will put you in people’s radar.
Depending on your objective, some social media platforms work better than others. Keep in mind that it’s important to maintain a presence on all platforms if you want to build a strong personal brand online. However, consider your audience and your industry when you decide where to invest your time and effort.
How do you want to be portrayed?
Although social media is a powerful tool in networking, finding new opportunities, and building a personal brand, it is also a double-edged sword that can be detrimental to your job search.
Have a clean and professional image online. In a way, your presence on social media has become an extension of your portfolio and a reflection of who you are as an individual. It’s a way for hiring managers to get to know who you are without actually meeting you. You don’t want them to see the pictures of your crazy weekends in Vegas. Instead, you want them to see how excited you are about your industry and passionate you are about your work. Sharing content can be a powerful thing, but it is important to be selective when building your personal brand.
Steer clear of using foul language, negative remarks about a past or current employer, or controversial comments. A good rule of thumb: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t mind sharing in a job interview.
Overall, the use of social media has been so deeply integrated into our lives that in this day and age, it’s something difficult to avoid. To cross it off completely may seem like the simpler approach, but many employers appreciate it when a candidate is in touch with the latest in his or her respective industry and proactive about creating a personal brand. So use social media to your advantage! Build a brand for yourself that will make your potential employers excited to get to know you. Just as you spend time crafting and perfecting your cover letters, resumes and interview techniques, your online presence is another component of your professional image that is becoming increasingly important.