The best people who get employed by employers time and time again are those who have a strong personal brand online. Throughout many industries, when you can show to potential employers that you are switched on and understand how your mannerisms, behaviours and actions have an impact on how people perceive you, you will soon find that finding a job is actually quite straight forward.
Building your personal brand online doesn’t happen by chance though. It is something that needs to be carefully crafted so that when a potential employers searches you out, all they see is the positive content that you want them to see. This takes time and effort to build up and work effectively for you, which can mean different things in different industries. What is for certain though is that employers will be searching for your name online before you get an interview so they can find out as much about you as possible to understand who the real you is.
Social Media Profile Visibility
Almost everyone these days has a social media profile on the major platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. All it takes for a potential employer to see what you’re doing is to search for your name on each of the social media platforms and they will soon be able to see everything you’re up to, unless you manage this correctly. All social media platforms allow you to either set your profile to public or private so you can control who sees what and when.
It is extremely important to separate out your personal life from your professional life online by segmenting your social media platforms accordingly. Most people will use Facebook for personal reasons and as such you should probably set your profile to be private so that only your friends can see what you post. Likewise, most people will use LinkedIn as a professional networking website so you should make sure this presents you well as a professional.
If you aren’t sure what your profiles are set to, sign out of all your social media accounts then search both on Google and on the individual social media platforms for your name. This is what future employers can see. If there is anything in here that you don’t want people to see, then check over what settings you have configured.
Be under no illusion, potential employers will search for you online to see what they can find. After all, the employer is making a significant commitment employing someone so they want to make sure the person they are employing is the best possible person for the job. If employers see things that makes them question you, they will judge you and think twice about asking you to interview. Make sure that you know what can be found about you online.
Photographs of You Online
What can future employers see about you through photographs that are online? Looking at your social media profiles, what profile picture do you have and how does this represent you as a professional? Your profile pictures should always be professional or if they are for personal reasons, keep it sensible. If future employers can find photographs of you and friends in Ibiza partying on the town, what are they going to think? They are probably going to think twice about employing you. Likewise, if they see professional photographs everywhere about you, then they are going to see you as a professional and have a high opinion of you.
People are judgemental and will make snap decisions about you based on what they can see. Sure, everyone is entitled to a good time at the weekend, but be careful how this impacts your personal brand online when images and videos are shared around. Do not use any kind of provocative or inappropriate images for your personal profiles as often people can see this information publicly.
Watch your Mouth
What you say can be easily taken in the wrong way or misinterpreted. Be very aware of what you post online on social media channels, comments on news articles if you are using your real name and other blogs. When a future employer searches for your name, they are likely to come across these types of comments and can easily make quick judgements about your beliefs, opinions and attitudes. If these don’t match what the employer is expecting from their employees, then you are unlikely to proceed any further in the application process.
Do not bad-mouth your previous or current employers, particularly if your profiles are publicly accessible. This does not look good and no employer wants to have a disgruntled member of staff working in their organisation. Sure, everyone has a bad day at work or a bad manager somewhere in the organisation. You don’t need to go bad mouthing them or the organisation online though. Keep it professional at all times.
Likewise, the same is true for flippant comments that are discriminatory and related to race, gender or religion. The second a potential employer sees any kind of comments like this, they are highly unlikely to want to talk to you. If you do have views that are not politically correct, then keep them to yourself online. Better yet, have a word with yourself, we live in the 21st century where the best employees respect each other for who they are and are not judgemental based on arbitrary labels.
On all social media platforms there is a timestamp for when you have added the comment or posted an update. If an employer sees that you are posting on Facebook at 2pm every day, the first thing that is going through their head is that you are playing on Facebook when you should be working. It doesn’t look good and suggests that you have a poor working attitude. Remember, employers can see more than you think, so manage your personal brand online.
You get the point. Be careful what you are saying online. Don’t go sharing your latest job offer on social media until the deal is all done. Don’t go using text-language as it doesn’t look good. Don’t go mocking your customers, it’s not professional and could harm the company you are working for if these comments get picked up.
Stand Out from the Crowd
The best employees are leaders and experts at what they do. Stand out from the crowd by promoting yourself, your skills and expertise as much as possible. Shamelessly promote yourself. Enter yourself into competitions and awards, get involved with local communities and voluntary work, get involved with community groups and you will soon find that other people are writing about you online for the right reasons.
What do you think a future potential employer will think if when they search for you online they see that you have won a specific award within your industry or that you spoke at a conference or that you volunteered at a local school to teach them about your industry? They will not only want to employ you straight away but they will want to pay you more for the privilege as they can see how awesome you are and how much value you will add to their organisation.
Claim Your Name
One of the best ways to make sure that you get found when employers are searching for your name online is to claim your name on all the major platforms. Buy yourself a domain name such as www.michaelcropper.co.uk, seriously, they are only around £10 to purchase and speak to your local teckie to throw you a basic website together.
Make sure you have claimed your personal profile on all the major channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest etc. This will make sure that when employers search for you, they will find the profiles that you want them to find and most importantly, because you have controlled what you can and cannot see on these profiles, it makes sure that you are being seen in a positive light at all times.
In certain industries, blogging can be an extremely positive way of building your personal brand online. Show that you know what you’re talking about by educating others and providing useful resources for others to learn from. Not only does this show that you know your onions, this also shows that you are willing to help others along the way too. Employers love this kind of stuff.
Most importantly, you want to know the minute someone online mentions your name. Whether this is in a blog post, and article, a newspaper or something else. The best way of being alerted whenever someone mentions your name online is to use the free service from Google Alerts which you can set up to make sure you know the moment your name is mentioned online.
This is more useful if you have a unique-ish name that is easily identifiable. If you have a generic name such as John Smith then you’re going to have a bit of trouble with this. Take a look though and see how this can work for yourself in your industry.
There are endless things to do and not to do when it comes to personal branding online. Each item is going to vary greatly between industries so use your common sense. Remember, anything that your mother would disapprove of should probably not be in the public domain.
When you take time to manage your personal brand online, you will soon find that doors start opening for you. Not only do you have additional items to talk about to future employers, you also make sure that when they do search for you online, that the content they are finding about you is positive.