We hear lately a lot about personal branding and how this is especially important if you are searching for a new job. Many will probably argue that managing your personal brand makes sense only while employed - you actually build your image while managing your career. That was maybe true when we were building our professional reputation only at the office. But, times are changing, and our virtual life becomes very important (perhaps even crucial I dare to say) in revealing people who we are.
Since building your personal brand takes time and much effort, you should be particularly active in positioning yourself on social media when you are looking for another position. Why? Because - the first thing after they read your CV, employers or recruiters will check you up on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn next. So, be prepared!
1. Review all your social accounts. Is there anything publicly available that gives a wrong impression about who you are? Change your privacy settings and be smart about what content you publish online. Limit access to your personal photos to friends and family.
2. Your name on social accounts. Please, write your first and last name with capital letters. You cannot expect to find a job abroad claiming you speak English if you do not write your name right. Be serious. This is especially important for LinkedIn.
3. So, do you have a LinkedIn account? Time to polish your profile then. If you are a professional, you should also look like one. Be cautious about the profile photo, do not put holiday photo, badly cropped photo or photos of nature, animals and similar. Not having a photo is also a bad idea. LinkedIn is a professional network, so choose the recent portrait photo of you looking professional.
4. Your engagement on social networks. I don’t have to say how important is, for your image and reputation, to be respectful of others in your comments and posts. If you are searching for a job on LinkedIn, do connect with people in your industry, do post relevant content and leave relevant comments on other people’s posts. However, do not bomb recruiters and HR professionals whom you do not know with your messages and requests to find you a job or to recommend you to someone. I know you need a job, but this is a huge mistake if you try to build meaningful connections, not to mention that it certainly hurts your reputation.
5. That brings me to my final advice – please, when you are looking for a connection that can help you in your job search, at least read a title and a profession of the person you want to connect with on LinkedIn. Look if this person related to your industry or to the company you want to work for and look if you have mutual connections that you can refer to when you send your connection request.
I know, everyone says nowadays you must network and make connections as a part of your job search process to improve your chances of landing a job. But before you start networking, make sure your online presence leaves the impression of you as a reliable professional first. Look through recruiters’ eyes and be honest with yourself – are you giving the impression of a desirable employee? Would you hire yourself? Work consistently and ask for help if you need it and remember – looking for a job is a process. So, keep your chin up and good luck!