Using social media to build your personal brand
mployers are stalking you, and you may not like what they see. Many hiring managers will take a look at your social media profiles after they interview you to get a snapshot of who you are. “I always look at a few social channels when hiring,” said Brandon Jeppson, Vice President of marketing at EKR. “It helps me get a better sense of who that person really is.”
If the person represented on your social media channels does not reflect the person you want employers to see, you need to step up your game on social media. Get noticed and hired by the right people by taking control of your personal brand online.
1. Stand for something
A good personal brand starts with a solid foundation. Pick a cause, any cause. It doesn’t have to be organized one, or even well-known. You can stand up for happiness, class, art, religion, or science. Choose something you want to embody, and let the rest of your content follow suit. Your foundational principles will shine through to people looking at your social profiles and will be influential in shaping their perceptions of you.
2. Embrace the real you
A common misconception is that to be successful on social media, you should appear to be perfect. People want to see the real you. A hiring manager isn’t going to your Facebook feed to be wowed by your flawless selfies, they’re there to get a glimpse of your reality. Be authentic and relatable, and people will want you on their team.
“Credentials and skills are important, but in the end, you’re working with people,” said Jeppson. “Social media, including LinkedIn, can help me figure out if they’re going to be a good fit for my team”.
3. Find your audience
Once you find the content that resonates with you, find out who cares to listen. Use platforms like Buzzsumo to monitor what’s trending with your audience, then use that content to fuel your posts. Remember, you’re not building a personal brand for yourself, but for others to be influenced and inspired by you.
4. Stay consistent
Having a consistent look and feel to your personal brand will create a sense of trust and validity. “You can damage an otherwise impeccable reputation if one of your profiles shows up with content or images that don’t represent you well,” said Sujan Patel, Co-founder of Web Profits and a contributing author to Forbes. This advice is especially helpful on an Instagram account, where a consistent look and feel (including a color scheme) is pleasing to the eye.
5. Mix up your content
Don’t settle for only one type of engagement with your audience, even if you know it works. Mixing up what you post keeps things interesting for your followers and helps employers see the many facets of your personality. “When hiring, I try to gather as much data as I can about a person,” said BYU student and E-WeddingBands operations manager David Baird. “I want to know what their personality is like and how they handle themselves in all types of situations.”
6. Embrace your work
Your social media pages shouldn’t be a place to consistently gloat about your achievements. They can, however, be a place to occasionally post content you create, like blog posts or videos. Sprinkling your personal brand with original work helps employers quickly assess your skill sets.
7. Google yourself
Try putting your name into a search engine. How do you feel about the results? Are you ashamed and embarrassed, or happy and proud? Monitoring your online presence is essential to maintaining a personal brand. If there’s something you don’t like on your social pages, it’s easy to delete. If you’re worried about how you’re portrayed on other pages, try reaching out to the person posting and explain you don’t want to be portrayed in that way.
Just like a business would, you should be aware of where you show up online, who is talking about you and what is being said.
“Elevating your personal brand might seem like it involves a huge time investment. But, small steps in the right direction can go a long way” said Kat Boogaard, writer for The Muse and contributing author for Inc.
Rest assured that employers are looking at your social media because you’re already interesting. Make sure you paint the right picture of who you are and who you want the world to see.
Written by Shannon Baird