You’ve probably heard it before, but your personal brand is key to your success when looking for a new job. As experts in careers here at CareerFoundry we are always advising career changers on the importance of pimping their personal brands in order to boost their chances of landing their dream job. You are your brand - so everything that you say and do in a public forum counts towards the impression you are giving potential recruiters who can and will Google your name.
Rather than trying to hide your social profiles away from professional connections, you can instead utilize them to get your name out there as an expert in your field and get yourself known as a sought-after candidate. In this post I will be outlining the value of the different social networks, what each one is specifically good for in terms of job hunting and self-promotion and how pimping your personal brand you will be the key to increasing your chances of getting that job.
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of LinkedIn, it certainly doesn’t have the ‘cool’ factor of other social networks, but in terms of your career LinkedIn is gold. With over 225 million professionals on there LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network - getting your CV on there means you are mixing with the best in your industry, and contactable. It is one of the first things to pop up when prospective employers Google you before that crucial first interview - LinkedIn usually comes up as the first or second search result (and with 94% of users clicking on the first page of results and only 6% on the second page, having your name in such a prominent position makes you much easier to be found).
Use it, abuse it. Make the most of it. Fill it in with as many details as you can, if they don’t do it without prompting, ask former employers or clients (who you still have a good relationship with) to leave testimonials or comments about how great you are to work with. Use it to outline the sort of position you are looking for and link to all relevant work.
The most important thing about LinkedIn is that you can choose specifically how you portray yourself. You control the information that future clients or employers see - you can make that information - essentially YOU - sound as great as you know you are. No limitations. No wordcounts. No uncomfortable references. Just the best of what you can do. So when that employer searches for you they’ve got a big slice of who you are and what you do all in one place. Make your profile personable, friendly but above all professional - LinkedIn is not the place to post your holiday snaps however unbelievable that sunset was.
LinkedIn is not the place to post your holiday snaps however unbelievable that sunset was.
Be careful on Facebook. Unlike LinkedIn which is specifically targeted at professionals and those looking to network, Facebook is really open to interpretation. It’s very easy to get carried away posting pictures of cartoon dogs without thinking about the possible recruiter scanning your page. When you’re job hunting or looking to promote your skills in a professional capacity you’ve got to decide who your audience is going to be and what perception of yourself you want to get across. Remember, this could be a great free advertisement for your skills, so if you do choose to make your profile public and include all the kinds of information a prospective employer might want to see - no, not the photos of you downing shots last Friday night - this could really work to your advantage.
If you’re a web developer include links to websites you’ve built, if you’re a graphic designer link to your online portfolio, if you’re a writer you can post on Facebook each time you update your blog. As almost everyone is on Facebook it can be a great way to hear about opportunities too.
The downside if you are choosing to use Facebook for personal stuff as well as professional is that you can’t control what your friends post to your profile and it’s much harder to get across a clear, professional perception of yourself to recruiters. The conga you did at Marie’s 30th, the picture of you asleep holding a beer at your cousin’s christening, the Santa outfit at Christmas - are these really what you want your future employer to be thinking about when you show up for your interview at 9am on Monday morning? In short, no.
So adjust the settings on your profile, allowing friends to see and post in specific places, but that others (or the public) cannot see. Or, easier still, if you can’t bear to limit your interactions with your friends, or change your settings, make the whole thing private. The disadvantage of this is that you can’t then utilize your profile to show companies all of the things you’re really good at. So think carefully about what’s more important to you right now, having a chat with your mates, or landing that job. Always be thinking about the perception of yourself you want to create.
It’s very easy to get carried away posting pictures of cartoon dogs without thinking about the possible recruiter scanning your page.
Believe it or not, Twitter isn’t just a great way to tell people what you had for lunch today. The point about Twitter as a tool to leverage your personal brand is that you are putting yourself directly in front of potential recruiters. Recruiters and employers have been using Twitter for some time now to search for suitable job candidates and to headhunt talented individuals. And as an individual it’s easy to leverage as it’s a very straightforward way of reaching a wide audience quickly.
You can promote your personal attitudes and ideas and let it be known exactly what your value is to an employer as their potential employee. Twitter brings visibility and evangelism around your unique product and the promise you are offering future employers. It’s easy for you to get on the radar of recruiters, employer hiring decision makers, industry thought leaders and subject matter experts in your field. Do your research and identify the right people to connect with, follow them, support them with frequent re-Tweets, and position yourself as a person of interest and a professional who is ‘good to know’.
Do the same with colleagues, former colleagues, previous employers and anyone you have met at an industry event - show an interest in your field! Through Twitter you’ll find job opportunities, you’ll be able to connect with big companies who are perhaps looking for solutions to problems that you can help with and gather intelligence on the market. When you’ve run out of things to tweet about (unlikely, I know) look for relevant news in your area of expertise, comment on it, link to it, and try to start a discussion about it.
Twitter isn’t just a great way to tell people what you had for lunch today.
What tips do you have for pimping your personal brand? Share them in the comments below! For more career tips and advice, check out CareerFoundry - with courses in Web Development and UX Design, we're here to get you skilled up and launching your new career in tech.
About the author:
Rosie Allabarton is a writer who lives in Berlin. Her journalism specializes in technology, freelancing, education, employment and women in technology. She works as a tech writer and content manager for CareerFoundry, an online educational platform that provides training in web development and UX design, providing career changers with the skills they need to launch themselves onto the tech scene.
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