There’s no escaping the increased level of importance social media plays in our day-to-day lives. As a result, it’s imperative that candidates keep a close eye on their personal online branding, ensuring it projects the right image to potential employers.
LinkedIn now has 433 million users, with two new people joining every second. But it’s not just LinkedIn pages you need to be mindful of; the chances are, as recruiters, you’ll be checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts to ascertain exactly what people get up to in the digital space and if, of course, that’s the sort of person you can confidently put forward for roles. This is particularly important for roles that require being active on social media.
With these thoughts in mind, we asked Dan*, a Recruitment Director, to share five tips that can help candidates ensure they’re presenting themselves in the best possible light online…
1. Ask yourself: why, who and where?
“I encourage a three-point approach to developing your online strategy,” says Dan. “Firstly, ask yourself why you want to boost your professional online presence. Is it to find a better job, grow your career, and find clients? Now that you have these goals in mind, take the time to define your audience. Write down as many descriptive words about them as possible.
Then consider where you should be doing this, which is the most important question of all. There’s an abundance of channels out there and you don’t want to spread yourself too thinly – it’s a time-consuming business and you want to do it right.”
2. Find your rhythm
“The most important key to success on social media is consistency. So start small and see how much time you can afford to commit to it daily. The time that it takes to handle a social media platform can vary massively depending on your level of involvement and your goals.
Also ensure that your channels are aligned – there’s no point having a super-professional LinkedIn page and then a Twitter feed in the same name that is completely contradictory.”
3. Keep your activity connected
“As we’ve already mentioned, LinkedIn is showing no signs of slowing down. It’s a fantastic tool for growing your network, but being passive isn’t the way to do that – you need to have activity linked to your profile, as this will increase your visibility and will most likely generate connection requests. So share profile updates and interesting articles, leave comments, join or create groups and share your own work on LinkedIn Pulse.
If you’re looking to self-promote, this is the place to do it. Remember too that you can use keywords in your profile to maximise your chances of showing up in searches.”
4. Don’t spread yourself too thinly
“Try not to focus all your efforts on one channel and therefore neglect the others. It will depend on your industry, but try to decide what your primary channel will be and which should be your secondary ones. Similarly, if you’re actively looking for a new role, a purely social approach might not be the best one for you. Instead, you should think of these as additional tools to support your hunt.”
5. Use your common sense
“It’s mind-blowingly obvious, but you’d be surprised by how often I have to give people a slap on the wrist when a potential employer has seen an image, comment or link from a candidate that would reflect badly on the company were they to hire them. The key thing to remember is that once it’s online, it never really goes away, so make sure your social channels are set so that you get to verify or veto anything you’re tagged in.
It comes back to knowing your audience – it’s about determining who might be viewing your profiles and what they would and wouldn’t want you to see. For example, the same rules wouldn’t apply to both an ad firm and an investment bank. Creating and maintaining your online personal branding takes time, so don’t expect things to happen overnight. But give it time, be consistent and keep learning.”