You’ve likely seen the term “personal branding” in blogs and articles as you’ve been preparing for your job search. Personal branding is how a candidate packages their skills, background, experience, and public persona in order to market themselves to potential employers.
A strong personal brand image could mean landing the job of your dreams while the wrong one could hurt your chances – or even worse, get you disqualified from consideration entirely.
Because finding – and keeping – a job is all about marketing yourself properly, let’s take a minute to cover a few key points that will boost your personal brand image.
Clean out your closet – your social media closet
Where do you think the first place employers look after they’ve seen your resume and are considering taking the next step? If you answered straight to your social media accounts, you’re correct. In fact, 52% of employers surveyed in CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey admit to taking to the web to research applicants.
Companies want to know that they’re hiring people of high integrity, so you want to make sure that everything you post on the internet projects your most “hirable” you.
The same CareerBuilder survey reported:
48 percent of hiring managers who research applicants on social media said they’ve found something that led them to not hire a candidate. Some of the top turn-offs include:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs – 46 percent
- Information about candidate drinking or using drugs – 40 percent
- Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee – 34 percent
- Poor communication skills – 30 percent
- Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. – 29 percent
The takeaway is not that you can’t go out with your friends and have a good time – rather, be cognizant of the moments you choose to document and share.
Build up your online presence
We know we just told you to clean up your online presence, but there’s a flip side. This is about ensuring that your online presence reinforces a positive and professional perception; it’s about taking control and reshaping the information that can be found easily in an online search.
One of the first things we advise clients to do is ensure that they have an updated and professional LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is well indexed by Google, so when a recruiter searches your name online, your LinkedIn profile is likely to be one of the first results they would see. LinkedIn is also a great way to include projects you’ve worked on, papers you’ve published, or even interviews in which you’ve been quoted.
If you like to write or have an online portfolio to showcase, we typically suggest that your purchase your own website domain, such as www.JohnSmith.com. If you are unable to purchase your own domain, you can get one for free on sites like WordPress. The key is just to make sure that your full name is included in the URL, such as www.wordpress.JohnSmith.com. No matter which approach you take, strive to always keep it professional.
Behavior in the real world is just as important as your online presence
Many companies see their employees as extensions of their business, even after hours. Again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a life. But if you want the job – or if you want to keep the one you have – you should be on your best behavior even outside of business hours.
Do you remember many years ago when a woman drove across country wearing a diaper? Do you remember her name? No? But you may remember who she worked for. After all these years, the only details most people recall about that strange event is that the woman worked for NASA.
Let us help
Personal branding isn’t easy and, but the good news is that you don’t have to go about it alone. If you need help marketing yourself to employers by creating a great resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile that highlight your personal brand, contact the career consultants at Resume Spice today. Let us help!