February 17th, 2012 → 10:23 am @ Mark Story // No Comments
I write this with a tip of my cap to my friend, Geoff Livingston, whom I admire greatly – and who despises the term “personal brand.” Not doing this to irritate you Geoff, I just sort of like the term.
You’ve heard the horror stories: a job applicant gets turned down because his potential employer discovered his objectionable tweets, or saw pictures of his keg party on Facebook. There is a lot of advice out there about keeping your online activity from hurting your career. But there’s a flip side. When handled correctly, social media can help you professionally. You can use it to enhance your personal brand, establish yourself as an expert in a field, or demonstrate fluency with all things digital. The key is to be proactive about managing your activity and image.
More than ever (and almost always in the social media field), potential employers will look you up online. Period. Full stop. If your potential job is in social media, you can guarantee it. For employers (unless you are very cautious), their search will bring up positive and negative elements based upon what you have put online. Samples of platforms that will help you build this searchable body of work are a solid LinkedIn profile, an insightful blog (it doesn’t have to be genius, it just needs to express what you think, preferably about social media), a fairly frequently updated Twitter account as well as a public-facing and open profile on Facebook. This will be your part of your online portfolio. As I write this, the jury is still out on Google+, but it is growing exponentially in popularity. It may well need to be part of your promotional arsenal as well. These are all elements that can portray you in a positive light and (if you have interesting things to share and what you blog about is fairly well-written; read: error-free) that will help you look informed and smart.
Potential negative elements from an employer point of view include photographs and opinions that may offend prospective employers, plus the aforementioned typos and grammar mistakes. The hard part is determining what might offend whom. Look it up: there are plenty of publicly accessible pictures of people doing keg stands on Facebook and there is a debate about the impact of things like this on one’s chances of being disqualified from a job.
In short, build – AND MONITOR – your online personal brand.
image source: BloggingPro.com.