Recruiters, headhunters and employers are increasingly using search engines and social media channels to find applicants and vet potential employees. So it makes sense to think long and hard about your professional brand and how you might appear online.
In this modern world, your professional brand is no longer limited to what’s included on your CV. Fundamentally this is what sets you apart from other professionals - and it could be the difference between you securing a role over a different candidate.
Whilst your CV and personal appearance are important elements of your brand, it's your presence and actions on social media which is how most recruiters will come to know you. Social media matters when you are job hunting. Taking the time to ensure that your online presence is clean and your personal accounts are secure is a savvy move for all job seekers, regardless of role and seniority.
But when managed properly, a strong online presence can be an asset to your job hunt. So before you start applying for roles, have a think about these online channels:
Check your online presence
Most of us have an online presence on some level or another; but have you thought about how the content you post online could impact your career?
It goes without saying that your personal social media musings should be restricted to those you know. Whilst a potential employer probably won’t be swayed by your latest holiday snaps or which bar you checked into on Saturday night, you should always be aware of what you post or share online - and who can see it.
What you do or say in cyberspace can follow you throughout your career. The moral of the story? Don’t let social media postings jeopardise your job search. Keep your personal accounts private and your professional accounts public.
Create a LinkedIn profile
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that a LinkedIn profile is pretty much a prerequisite for job seekers. For most fields, it’s a basic professional requirement.
LinkedIn is one of the most important tools available to you when marketing your skills and advancing your career. It’s essentially an all-encompassing online CV and cover letter; it’s rich in detail and presents an early opportunity for you to sell yourself, showcase your skills and pitch your career aspirations online.
It’s one thing to create a killer online profile, but this isn’t always enough. You also need to be engaged with your sector or industry area - through the people you’re connected with and by becoming part of relevant groups. You can also ask for recommendations from your connections as a means of showcasing your skills.
Just make sure that your profile picture is appropriate - it goes without saying that a party pic or a mirror selfie is an absolute no-no.
Consider blogging or a personal website
If you’re a keen writer and you really want to establish expertise, you could consider starting your own blog or producing a personal website. If you have the time and energy to commit to such a project, it’s a good way to create a personal brand online and provides significantly more insight into your personality and background than a CV and cover letter ever can.
You can write about anything that interests you; or you can cater the content towards your job or industry to highlight your knowledge and to show that you’re well-informed. But don’t be afraid to show a bit of flair.
Post regularly and share relevant content across your social media channels as a platform upon which to showcase your writing talent, promote yourself online and stand out in a crowd. Just be cautious of sharing controversial opinions - however passionate you are about your cause.