Social media provides the opportunity for potential employers to gain their first impression of you, even before the initial handshake. Like executive recruiters, many employers are now utilizing social networking sources to vet and uncover information about candidates not included in a resume. In a socially savvy and digitally transparent society, we are plugged in, tuned in and connected.
Navigate to the nearest open browser window and Google yourself. What does your online persona and reputation say about you? You will find that you already have a personal brand. Whether the latest photo stream from Facebook pops up or your LinkedIn profile appears, we live in a digital village and you should assume everyone is monitoring the activity. But are you?
Here are 10 ways you can manage your personal brand, online and on paper, especially during your career search, in 140 characters or less…
- Your personal brand takes careful planning. Define who you are and identify which personality traits you want to shine through.
- A professional headline should reflect what you can offer a potential employer. Consider your unique strengths, career goals and aspirations.
- Be original! If you don’t stand out from the crowd you run the risk of being forgettable – just another resume or @ handle.
- But never like this: “Tech junkie from #Hotlanta. Coder by day and beer drinker at night. Live for WarCraft weekends!!! Follow me…I’m on #TeamFollowBack.”
- Rather: “#SocialMedia marketing professional and digital platform analyst, increasing bottom line profitability through strong project leadership.”
- Be clear about the image you intend to project and what you are about. If you have more than one message you run the risk of confusing people.
- Leverage who you are in your industry and how you add value. Share insight on market trends and position yourself as a thought leader.
- Support statements with objective proof and quantify your accomplishments. Identify appropriate metrics that will add value and show your worth.
- Ensure that your brand message is consistent across all platforms. Your resume and LinkedIn profile must align and the tone be equally appropriate.
- Buy into your brand. Start conversations on social platforms and engage. Network and build confidence in your personal brand. Own it!
Build credibility within an already competitive marketplace, align your key messages and understand that the initiative to build your brand is a direct investment in yourself as a professional. Focus on your goals, take charge of the results you want to see and manage the message you can create. While you can’t remove what’s already out there, you can control how you communicate your personal brand and ensure that what people see is what you want them to see.