Did you know that you have a personal brand whether you have purposely developed one or not?
Did you know that the vast majority of employers are actively searching out candidates on social media as a standard part of the hiring process?
Did you know that no matter how solid your resume may be, or how great your experience, a stupid mistake on Facebook could ruin your chances at that new job?
Consider the following:
Nearly two in five companies (37 percent) use social networking sites to research job candidates, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. – CareerBuilder April 2012
Less than a year later-
According to a new study by The Lucas Group nearly 50% of employers admit to checking the social media sites of potential hires.
You read that right. In less than a year the use of social media in the hiring process grew from 37 to 50%. This is not a fad that will go away, this is the new normal So, how do you leverage social media to your benefit? It is easier than you might imagine; it just takes a little planning and some intentional interaction. Below are four steps to start you on the path to social media maven.
Step One: Be Active
You now know that employers are going to search for you, so make sure they can find you. Just about everyone is on Facebook, but are you active on Twitter, LinkedIn and the up-and-coming Google Plus? The bigger your digital footprint is, the easier a potential employer will be able to find you.
Step Two: Smile!
The first thing anyone sees on your various social media profiles is your picture. The first goal is to make sure it is a good representation of you and not the digital age version of a mug shot. Don’t use a clip art icon, an abstract picture or a group picture. Do have a clean, professional looking head shot from a decent digital camera. Once you have your picture be sure to use the same one across all of your social media platforms. Don’t make it confusing for potential employers. Give them the sense that they are meeting the same person on Twitter that they saw on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Step Three: Headlines Sell Papers
…and they can sell you too! All social media profiles allow for a headline-type section of text. Use it to your advantage by creating a professional headline for yourself. Something as simple as your desired job title/profession can work well. Keep it short and to the point, and make sure everyone knows exactly what they have found when they see your profile. Be sure to use the same headline across all platforms. Again, consistency is key here. Need to see it in action? Here are links to my branding sites:
Step Four: Content is King
This is a favorite line of web content providers. The idea being that no matter how flashy your site may be, at the end of the day it is the content on the page that keeps people coming back. The same is true for your social media accounts. Follow people in your field. Share articles and posts that relate to your profession. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Employers are not looking for robots, and they realize that in the era of social media there may be an embarrassing picture or two out there. It is more important to show that you are active in, and passionate about, your field. Let your personality shine through, but keep it fairly professional.
Do not let the new normal of social media intimidate you. While it is a little more work for the jobseeker, it is also a bigger opportunity.