Managing Your Personal Brand in The Age of Social Media

By Zach Seybert
In October 10, 2017

With social media, finding a job has become both easier and more difficult at the same time. It has become easier in the sense that with a few clicks of the mouse we can find hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs in any given industry around the globe. On the other side of the coin, it is increasingly difficult due to how easily hiring managers and potential future employers can gather information and create a first impression after a quick search of your name.

While using social media can help you get a job, it can also drastically affect your chances of landing one as well. No matter how impressive your resume and cover letter are, if you have a controversial social media presence chances are you likely will not get the job. We have previously mentioned the importance of building a personal brand, and even offered some tips on how to kick-start its development, now we are going to take a look at managing your personal brand online.

The first thing you need to do when it comes to your online personal brand is Google yourself. While this seems sort of odd (maybe even a tad egotistical), it is important to gain an understanding of what potential employers might see if they do the same thing, which they often will. According to a recent survey by our friends at TopResume, more than 80 percent of professionals are “potentially sabotaging their job search by neglecting their online brand.” Further, more than 50 percent have never Googled their name before and an additional 35 percent only monitor their online personal brand one to three times a year.

More often than not, links to your social media profiles will appear. Once you see how easy it is to find your online presence, TopResume recommends asking yourself some important questions (read the full article here).

Which of my social media profiles are part of my “professional brand”?

Social media is a powerful tool, but can also get you in trouble. For example, it is easy to rattle off a Tweet about a controversial call during your favorite team’s game or provide an opinion about the political state of our country. However, does this “in-the-moment” opinion represent who you are as a professional, AKA your professional brand?

TopResume suggests to make a list of every social media profile you have ever created and decide which accounts you would like to associate with your professional brand. Once you do this, make sure that the message is consistent among all platforms and can link to your resume or LinkedIn, especially if you are using it for job prospects. For example, if you are using your Twitter profile to connect and interact with industry-professionals make sure that your biography section links to your LinkedIn account. On the other hand, if you are using your twitter solely for entertainment purposes (to share funny memes, etc. with friends), consider increasing the security settings so only those close to you can see.

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Did I forget to add any noteworthy information to my professional online profiles?

Your professional profiles are a way to showcase what you have been up to in your career. If you have any updates, make sure to share them to your network. By staying connected to industry news and participating in relevant conversation shows potential employers that you are aware of what is going on in your industry. If you write for a blog, share updates to your professional profiles. Tag relevant industry professionals and try to engage in conversation pertaining to the topic. The great thing about social media is that it allows you to connect with professionals that you might not have otherwise had access.

Are my personal social media accounts tarnishing my online brand?

An increasing number of employers or recruiters are using social media as a means to qualify candidates. A study by Jobvite showed that 55 percent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on a social media profile, with 61 percent of those being negative.

Although time-consuming, if you are worried about some of your previous posts take the time to go through and clean up your profile. Try to avoid any negative posts about a company and using certain four-letter words on your professional accounts. Per the same study, 61 percent of employers reacted negatively to job seekers who used profanity in their social media posts. While using these words could make you feel better temporarily, a lapse in judgement could have an impact on your future.

Wrap Up

Social media is a double-edged sword. While there are certainly benefits to its use when networking and gaining career guidance, a simple slip up can drastically change your career path and reputation. As TopResume can attest, personal branding is critical to your professional future. A well-monitored social media presence and online personal brand can lead to opportunities you might not have otherwise come across. The power of social media is widespread and can be both positive and negative – how you present yourself determines which outcome you will encounter.

Zach is a Digital Content and Marketing Specialist with NexGoal, who specializes in creating career transition and job search preparation content.