As you begin to search for a job, something to consider is your personal branding. Your online presence and persona are available to more than just your friends and family in a digital age. For many millennials and generation z, an internet presence is nothing new.
Learning how to use this element as part of your job search can prove beneficial, especially in a world where all it takes is a simple Google search to find out information about a person.
Here we’ll discuss what personal branding is, why it can add to your marketability in the job search, and some tips to help guide you:
Personal branding is how you display your unique characteristics for the world to see. Think of it as marketing for yourself. Pre-internet, this was typically accomplished through your resume, cover letter, or business cards. Today, however, there is an abundance of platforms and resources to create your personal brand.
Most people hear personal branding and think of social media influencers, but marketing yourself is essential in any career path!
Social media is one of the most effective forms of personal branding these days, and employers are using personal social media pages to filter candidates. In a study of 100 hiring managers done by LiveCareer in 2021, 80% of respondents revealed that they screen candidates through social media before hiring.
According to the results of the survey, 66% said they look at your main posts, 63% look at your “About Me” section, 60% look at your photos, 43% look at your comments under other posts, and 25% look at other profiles that you follow.
Knowing that future employers will be checking out your social media means that you should consider what you post and comment, but it’s also an opportunity to market yourself as a prime candidate.
Personal branding is a helpful element when looking for a job because it’s just one more way to impress employers. Often, hiring staff will look at your web presence before deciding who to interview, so having a solid personal brand can help you get your foot in the door. In addition, making a good impression on employers before you meet with them can be critical for a highly sought-after position.
CareerBuilder surveyed over 1000 hiring and human resource managers to discuss their perspectives on and the value of personal branding. The results of this survey provided some very valuable data on how employers use this information.
One significant finding was that 70% of employers reported they research job candidates using social media. And of those who perform this search, 57% state that the results have caused them to choose not to hire specific candidates.
What if you do not have an online presence? That is something employers consider as well. According to the 2018 survey, a lack of social media doesn’t necessarily deter recruiters, but 47% said it makes them less likely to call in a candidate for an interview due to a lack of information.
Having an easily accessible method of personal branding gives you control of the image recruiters see. It gives you a chance to highlight your strengths before sitting down for an interview. In turn, this gives you a chance to be memorable and make a strong first impression.
Personal branding doesn’t have to be complicated. There are plenty of resources available, both free and purchasable, that can help you establish your brand.
In the 2021 survey, LiveCareer found that the top digital resources used for personal branding were LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
The majority of respondents (68%) said that job seekers need a LinkedIn profile in 2021, and 75% said that keeping an active and updated LinkedIn page will help candidates get noticed by employers. To make your brand stand out more prominently, you may want to consider upgrading to a premium account since 84% of recruiters surveyed said this is critical to optimize your presence on the site.
While not designed for job-seeking specifically, sites like Facebook and Instagram also have high success rates for connecting candidates with employers. According to LiveCareer, while 10.2 million job applicants claim they found their job using LinkedIn, 18.4 million reported that they found their position through Facebook. Even Instagram is getting in on the recruiting action.
But don’t forget about the old fashion options. Business cards still prove to be effective at sharing your brand and can even help as a tool to connect when meeting people at events or conferences.
The first tip to remember when creating or editing your social media is to be genuine and professional. You should keep your posts positive and avoid “red flags.” For example, in the LiveCareer survey, the following red flags on candidates’ social media deterred recruiters:
Avoiding these behaviors means not sharing and engaging on memes and posts containing this content, even if they seem harmless and funny to you. Holding high standards and values will make you more marketable to employers and show you belong in their company.
You should use personal branding to tell your story. According to the survey by CareerBuilder, 37% of employers who responded hired candidates because their online profile included information or qualifications that match the type of job in which the candidate is interested. And 31% hired candidates because their branding showcased a wide range of interests.
You should also consider making professional connections on these sites to expand your credibility and possible list of references. The people you network with become part of your story.
While it can feel awkward to brag about yourself and your skills, this is the exact space in which you should. After all, the CareerBuilder survey revealed 26% of respondents hired candidates because they provided a list of their awards and accolades. Furthermore, 31% of hiring managers expressed that they selected a candidate because they got a good sense of the candidate’s personality from their personal branding and felt that they would mesh well with the rest of the staff.
Finally, one of the most important steps to remember is to be consistent. Just polishing up one or two of your social media accounts doesn’t guarantee a recruiter won’t find the rest. Make sure that none of your online accounts contains items that can hurt your image. Check everywhere you’re mentioned online and utilize privacy settings for accounts you don’t want them to see. But keep in mind that too many privacy settings can come off as suspicious to recruiters.
Personal branding doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but you should consider the image of you that you want potential employers to see. Taking the time to polish your social media can make all the difference in landing that dream job!
Check out this resource on crafting a strong resume and where to find help in doing so: https://careershift.com/blog/2021/04/finding-resume-writing-services-in-a-pandemic/