Social Media Marketing, Personal Branding, Twitter, digital profiles, Digital resumes
CAREER / 14 December 2016
How Social Media Affects Your Personal Brand
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Gisel Malek
Content Marketer

We love social media! You can go as far as to say it’s part of who we are. Everything from the people that we follow, to what we choose to post can say something about us. Are you one to actively engage in real time Twitter conversation, or, do you religiously post #OOTDs? By looking further into your social media activities, many companies decide whether or not to hire you. 

Digital Profiles have become the staple for pre-hiring procedures at many organizations. Resumes are proving to be far less useful than they used to be since they don’t provide a look into someone’s personality. Most companies have realized that they can help determine cultural fit by observing behavior outside of a traditional interview setting. According to Jobvite, 93% of recruiters will look at your online social profiles before they even call you in for an interview. Your actions on social media help to develop your personal brand. Learning how to use social media to your advantage can put you above your competition and even help you land that job.  

You may be benefiting yourself without even realizing it!

Consider the industry you are getting into. Is it marketing or graphic design? You might like to draw and share your work on social media with your family and friends, but if employers see your work, it can spark a great amount of interest. Those random doodles of anything and everything that you frequently post, have now helped brand you to be the graphic designer you may be aiming to become. Employers will see you as an artist with an Instagram rather than someone with an Instagram who merely posts pictures of art. If you want to get into the fashion industry, it would be wise to post pictures of daily outfits that you put together. If you manage to get followers to look forward to what you will post next, that could be a huge selling point for companies in that industry. It displays not only your love for fashion, but your marketing skills as well. If you are going up against a candidate with more years of experience than you, but a lackluster digital profile, it is likely that you have the slighter edge.

How to use social media to your advantage

Just like how artists can benefit from having an Instagram, writers can benefit from frequenting Twitter. Many people who don’t use Twitter shy away because of a lack of understanding. While LinkedIn can give you connections to people you need to know, Twitter can help you engage with others in your industry in real time and get you all the up-to-date news you need to know. It’s a great platform for absorbing information and promoting yourself. For example, you can follow other industry professionals and be one of the first people to know what is new in your industry. You can join live conversations and engage in topics that help you find the tools you need to succeed or merely gain inspiration for your next piece of content. It’s also a great way to get noticed because your tweets can spark enough interest and therefore traffic to your website or get you invited to special industry related events. This kind of exposure is what many writers feed off of, and speaking of feeding, landing some freelance work is not a bad way to put some bread on the table! Read here for more tips on how to build your personal brand through social media.

Some things to watch out for

Resumes are designed to sell yourself. You list your objectives, your accomplishments and the skills you have gained in hopes that employers will find them of value. Recruiters are left to cross their fingers and hope that everything on your resume is true and have no real way of determining what you are actually capable of doing or what your personality is really like. Unlike resumes, social media allows recruiters to get an inside glimpse into the person that you are. If you are aspiring to get into sales or customer service, you might say that knowing how to stay composed in situations is important. However, if you are constantly getting into Twitter fights because you are passionate about the topics being discussed, employers may not want to hire you. It is one thing to actively engage in polite debate which can demonstrate your confidence and drive. However, the line can get crossed if you are being rude and spiteful with your words - showing employers that you would be a liability. Companies want to hire people that know how to be resilient in the face of adversity, especially if they will be conversing directly with their clients. 

Who are you following on social media? If you want to get into public relations, it might be a good idea to show employers that you are up to date on trends and popular culture. Employers know that you cannot teach interest and passion. They also have no way to prove you really want to be doing the work you are applying for. Lots of people think they will enjoy doing something until they actually do it. It costs companies thousands of dollars to replace “bad hires” so they will do what they can to prevent that from happening. If they can see that you have a genuine interest in the field you are getting into, it will help them commit to moving forward with you. 

The most important thing to remember as a college student is that while your social media may seem like a personal outlet for you to engage with family and friends, it is becoming more heavily relied upon for recruiters to determine who gets hired. Everything you say and do demonstrates soft skills such as: leadership, communication, priorities, and personality type. Companies are placing a huge importance on soft skills because they are skills that can’t be easily taught and are greatly valued as a result. According to this article, 77% percent of employers think personality skills, “are just as important as hard skills,” and 16% find them more important. Your brand is comprised of not just who you say you are but what you show to the world. 

As a college student, you obviously want to be making the right decisions for your future. Digital profiles are the best way to brand yourself as an individual to companies and if you are utilizing the platforms to optimize your presence, you will be miles ahead of your competitors. To take it one step further, you may want to set up a free profile with ProSky to get direct face time with companies that are looking to hire and want to see what you are capable of doing. 

In the words of one of my favorite comedians, “Be so good they can’t ignore you” - Steve Martin