The arrival of the World Wide Web and the ensuing social media explosion put an end to our now-antiquated notions of privacy and anonymity. Decades ago, before the internet became ubiquitous, we could find solace in knowing that only a select few would know about our mistakes and embarrassments. Now, we all run the risk that our social missteps may exist in cyberspace forever.
This threat is especially pertinent if you’re hoping to launch a career as an executive in the serious and often staid business world.
Personal Brand Management
In its annual social media recruitment survey of approximately 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals and 3,000 full-time U.S. workers, CareerBuilder found that 60 percent of employers say they use social networking sites to scrutinize job candidates.
Consequently, most potential employers will know much more about you than your resume reveals. These statistics highlight just how vital it is to be prudent when it comes to your personal brand management.
Recruiters and hiring managers look at a candidate’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles in an effort to gain more insight into a possible hire. They recognize that a candidate’s presence on social media could reveal much more than a resume or even an in-person interview. For this reason, once you decide to pursue a professional career, it’s imperative to keep personal brand management foremost in your mind.
A seemingly harmless tweet or Facebook post could do serious damage to your personal brand. Further, it’s not only what you say that matters — photos count, too.
According to the CareerBuilder survey, 49 percent of hiring managers who screen social networks to vet candidates say they’ve found questionable content that served as grounds for rejection. Here is a list of the most unappealing content:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information (46 percent).
- Information about drinking or drug use (43 percent).
- Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. (33 percent).
- Bad-mouthing previous employer or coworkers (31 percent).
- Poor communication skills (29 percent).
So think before you tweet. Carefully consider what each online post says about you.
How to Create a Personal Branding Strategy
The fact that your future boss may be researching your online presence doesn’t have to be bad news. You can use social media to your advantage. The best way to excel at personal brand management is to develop an actionable, detailed personal branding strategy that showcases your personality and skills in the best possible light.
Before you send out your resume, go through all your social media accounts and clean up any questionable content. Also, make sure your privacy settings limit access to sensitive information.
You could use the web to your advantage. Consider starting a blog that relates to your industry, then post only relevant and accurate information. It’s also essential to write clearly and correctly. Your future boss wants to see that you’re mindful of details and communicate with care.
Another smart personal branding strategy is to post relevant and informative articles on LinkedIn and Twitter, which shows employers you’re engaged and aware of what is going on in their industries. Joining groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter that represent organizations you want to work for is a great way to keep up with the latest developments in a given industry. You can also enjoy the added bonus of online networking.
While a negative online presence can hinder your job search, a carefully curated one can be an asset if you use a smart personal branding strategy for your posts.
Keep It Professional
The seemingly all-knowing online world warrants deliberate personal brand management if you’re serious about your career. Working toward a dream job doesn’t just mean working hard at school. It also means putting time, thought and effort into building your unique, professional brand. Those who land coveted jobs in the world’s most successful and innovative organizations know how to present themselves on the web.
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