The Importance of Personal Brand for a Digital Hire
“A PERSONAL BRAND IS YOUR DISTINCT TALENTS AND WHAT YOU REPRESENT. IT’S WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU’RE NOT AROUND, AND HOW YOU’RE POSITIONED IN THE MARKETPLACE”- FORBES
Be it for personal or business reasons, social media and blogging helps you build a reputation online and keep your knowledge fresh and up to date. However as with everything the positives come with negatives with plenty of arguments for and against.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can open doors for job hunters, and give an opportunity for networking & career progression. It creates your public and professional image, what some career experts call your ‘personal brand’. The first rule of thumb is to ensure your social presence matches the professional image you want employers to see.
One major argument against is that the line between professional and personal can be blurred, so ensure you decide how much you reveal and how you can disrupt your digital footprint working against you. The obvious are the ‘off-duty’ photos on Facebook, but there are several stories of people who were a bit too open on their social media accounts about job interviews, their Boss or Company as a whole – this is a big no no!
Social Media has a huge effect on today’s society; so much so many organisations are now writing rules into their contracts to include Private/Personal Social Media Guidelines. While companies acknowledge the employees right to contribute content to public communications on websites, blogs and business / social networking sites not operated by them, inappropriate behaviour on such sites has a potential to damage the brand, as well as the company, its clients, employees, business partners or suppliers is strictly prohibited. A breech in this policy can result in disciplinary action, in accordance with the company’s disciplinary policies, civil and or criminal charges may also apply if the information posted is defamatory or constitutes a criminal offense.
According to a study carried out by Forbes.com, 92% of companies are using social media for hiring – and 3 out of 4 hiring managers will check a candidate’s social media profiles. In its annual social recruiting survey, Californian based recruiting platform “Jobvite” shows 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision and 55% have reconsidered a candidate based on what they find, with 61% of those findings being negative. 70% of hiring managers said posts of a sexual nature will go against you as well as 44% saw posts about alcohol as concerning and the most worrying of all 66% of hiring managers said they would hold poor spelling and grammar against candidates.
The study also gave an insight into how organisations use different social networks – with LinkedIn coming in 1st with 79% VS 26% through Facebook and 14% through Twitter. Nearly all hiring managers will use LinkedIn for every step of the recruitment process, including searching for candidates, getting in contact, and vetting pre-interview.
Lately a lot of emphasis has been placed on finding a candidate with the right attitude and personality to fit in with your organisation, so they are a good match to the company’s values. Sometimes no matter how strong you’re CV or experience is, if an employer finds your online presence to be inappropriate or offensive you could be jeopardising you chances of landing the role, or even the interview.
Using Social media in to your Advantage?
Brad Schepp, co-author of “How To Find A Job On LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+”, states “Make sure any profiles you write are free of typos, the information is coherent and applicable to your industry or job you’re trying to land, and your photos present you in a favourable light. You can verify the applicability of the information by checking profiles of others in the same field.”
The information you provide online about your job background and accomplishments should also be consistent, Schepp states “Don’t assume an employer will only be checking you out on LinkedIn. They may also check Facebook, or even Twitter and Google+. The story you tell on each site should be pretty much the same, although it’s fine to adapt the material for the site.”
Be Too Opinionated
Whether you’re talking about your political views, bad mouthing your previous employer, or being overly negative – all of this will affect your chances at getting an interview. Ensure you remain neutral at all times, as you will end up looking extremely unprofessional and unreliable as an individual.
Be Too Personal
While social media is for sharing personal thoughts and memories, if you have a lot going on at home refrain from venting this across social media platforms.
Post Inappropriate Content
Posting content that relates to drug use, alcohol or of a sexual nature should not be shared on social media, and can represent you in a not so positive light.
Post During Working Hours
Unless your role is to do with social media and online content creation, refrain from tweeting or sharing memes on Facebook during core working hours, as this shows you are not committed to your role.
Share Inappropriate Photos
Be it a personal or tagged photo of yourself, or even one that has been shared on your page – if it’s inappropriate it should be deleted or at the very least hidden behind privacy settings to ensure a future employer does not see it when vetting pre an interview
Have no presence on Social Media
Many hiring managers don’t consider a candidate if they don’t have a social media profile, they conduct social media research on you not just to see how you present yourself, but also to see that what you have stated on your CV is true. If you don’t have a social media profile to confirm your skills and experiences it can put you at even more of a disadvantage. If you work in digital you should be active on social point blank – at least on 1-2 platforms!
• 65% of Hiring Managers want to see if an applicant displays professional behaviour
• 51% want to see if the applicant would be a good fit with the company
• 45% want to learn more about the applicant/qualifications
• 34% stated that they discovered information that caused them not to hire the applicant
To ensure that you’re perceived as a quality candidate, ensure your social media profiles accurately reflect your talents and skills in a professional manner.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn page, you need to create one ASAP. Ask co-workers, clients, and others with whom you’ve had business dealings to post references on your profile page. If you’re new, or not used to LinkedIn, consider joining some of the LinkedIn professional groups, and be sure to participate in group discussions. The objective is to present a portrait of a well-rounded, intelligent employee that any company would be pleased to hire. In the twenty-first century, your digital image is the first impression, and you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
LinkedIn is more useful for experienced hires than for graduates. However, it’s a great way to get an online CV that showcases your experience and skills, it is essential to complete your profile in it’s entirety and insert the link on your email footer and all other social Channels. Update your profile regularly with examples of activities that could enhance your employability. Look at people in jobs you’d like to do, for ideas on how best to present yourself. LinkedIn is a great tool for researching employers and following an employer will give you useful updates on recruitment activity within the company
Facebook is the hardest to get the boundaries of personal and professional right, but it should not be a problem if you check your privacy settings regularly. If you’re using Facebook to interact with potential employers, ensure they only see things that fit your professional image. Its fine to mention your achievements on Facebook, but don’t overdo it. Graduate hiring managers are increasingly using Facebook to publicise their graduate programmes, so look for the ones you are interested in.
Make your Twitter bio as specific as possible; this will help people decide whether to follow you or not. Include a website address such as your blog or LinkedIn profile and add a professional-looking photograph, preferably the same as you use for LinkedIn, also state that you are looking for a job. A Twitter search can help you identify new opportunities. Look for people working in careers & companies you are interested in and follow them as this may give you an insight into the company culture, as well as potential job leads.
Blogs are a great way to showcase your expertise, particularly if you’re looking for work in the media, digital marketing or IT. They can also add weight to your knowledge or skillset. Ensure you post regularly; manage comments and respond appropriately, follow organisations and individuals in the industry you want to work in, to keep up with the latest trends.
Remember always spellcheck & proofread before you post!
Social media lets you connect with people you might not meet in real life. Create your own networks by making contact with people who work at businesses you’re interested in, building networks is a long-term process but it is worth investing the time. Interact with people: learn from them, and show what you can contribute. Join LinkedIn groups or specialist forums and share knowledge. Have conversations with like-minded people and build virtual relationships, this is often easier online than in person.
Up Your LinkedIn SEO:
As a job seeker on LinkedIn, the best thing that can happen is that a recruiter or hiring manager finds you and reaches out. So you should be doing everything you can to attract them to your profile. Use a strong headline and carefully selected keywords that will find you.
Below are the top tips for industry social media;
• Come up with a plan
• Use a variety of social media
• Use your real name, you want people to find you
• Be interesting and helpful: share information, insights and resources
• Update regularly
• Network – it’s social media, so be social
• Be generous: share information, thanks and praise
• Keep your image professional and consistent
• Bring all your accounts together in one place & put them on your job search materials
• Actually connect with people you don’t know
• Tap into your connections
• Be a thought leader
• Follow job search experts
• Follow major players in your field
For most employers, your skills and experience will be very important in assessing your suitability for a role. However, your technical ability may not the only thing under scrutiny. Finding a candidate with the right attitude and personality who is a good match with the company’s values is absolutely paramount and for those who don’t think that social networking should have any bearing on job-search efforts, the research is against you.