Social Media Marketing, Personal Branding, Twitter, digital profiles, Digital resumes
CAREER / 02 October 2018
How Social Media Affects Your Personal Brand
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Britta Greenhalgh
Marketing Assistant

We love social media! We check our Instagram feed on average once a day, which is less often than Facebook for most people. 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 as a person. Are you one to actively engage in real time Twitter conversation, or, do you religiously post #OOTD? 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 percent 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 and 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 for example? You might like to draw and share your work on social media with your family and friends casually, 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 now has helped brand you into the graphic designer you may be aiming to be. Employers will see you as an artist with an Instagram, not as a someone with an Instagram who posts pictures of their art. Take these people who post on Instagram for example:

Kory.mcintire:


Brookeannalius:

Gmsphoto96:

They have highlighted their work in their personal Instagram accounts. Not only will their friends and family enjoy their work but Employers will see it as well. Whether you are interested in going into graphic design, fashion or engineering,  you can continually post on your Instagram to build up your portfolio. It not only displays your passion but your marketing skills as well.


You may unknowingly go up against a candidate who may have more years of experience than you, but a lackluster digital profile. For example, there may be a candidate who has 2 plus years of experience but uses social media to show their party life. It is likely that you may have the slight edge because of your efforts of establishing your personal work on your social media.


How to use social media to your advantage

Use social media to become an influencer in your industry. By being an influencer, you will have an impact on a specific group of people in a specific industry. This will allow you to connect with more people in your desired industry and Employers will recognize your value. There is not a magic formula to becoming an influencer but here are a few things on social media you should try to start influencing your industry. 


1. Find your niche

It’s great to have many talents but as an influencer, it’s important to be good at a specific area in your industry. Perhaps you are good at photography, well what specific thing do you like taking pictures of. Is it of people, food, nature? Find out what specific thing is your niche. You can do that by researching, experimenting, applying and doing it again and again. Figure out what you are passionate about and then focus on that passion. As time passes, people will recognize you and might want to follow you on your social media.


2. Make your presence everywhere by offering free content

We live in an online world so your online presence is vital when becoming an influencer. And although we all hate working for free,  offering free content is a good way of demonstrating expertise in a certain industry. There is plenty of industry-specific content that will get you that job you have been dreaming of.

Where to get started? Here are a few places you can go to put out your content. 

Write on Medium

Medium is a publishing and social platform that allows lesser-known individuals to attract attention by enabling readers both in and out of their industries.  One of Mediums biggest selling points is that it has an extremely large audience. This allows you to get more readers to your content. 

Medium is also similar to Twitter in that you can “@” mention authors or organizations you want to see your content and link them directly through. They will be notified that you have mentioned them. This not only connects you to more people but it encourages the other authors to look at your content, engages in conversation via comments, follows and perhaps shares what you have said. Medium is not only used for writers. Engineers, artists, software designers, coders, sales reps, etc can all use medium to write their ideas.


Program on GitHub

GitHub is a great place for programmers, coders, and website developers. Each user on GitHub has their own profile that acts as a resume. The profile shows all your personal work and any work that has been done on other projects. These projects will be seen publicly so large numbers of experts can contribute their knowledge and expertise to move the project forward. 


LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers individuals resources to publicly display their accomplishments and skills. It could be known as an online resume where recruiters can look to see if your skills match up with someone they are hoping to hire. One way you can take advantage of LinkedIn to build your profile is to connect with people who are in the same industry. That way you can start to grow your network.


Twitter

Many people who don’t use Twitter or even understand it shy away. 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 writers, agents, and publishers and be one of the first people to know what is new in your industry. Tweetchats can be a tool to help you find other people in your industry. Tweetchats are a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. 

Find Tweetchats in your industry and actively interact with it.  Using Twitter is also a great way to get noticed because your tweets can spark enough interest to your website or get you invited to special industry-related events. That 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!

There are so many different types of social media platforms that you can use to make sure that you take advantage of them to build your portfolio and become a great influencer. 


3. Connect with people

To become an influencer in your industry you need to make connections whether it’s online or in person. When you follow people, actively follow their posts and make conversations. You could end up becoming online friends or associates. From there, there will be opportunities to go get lunch or coffee and talk about your ideas in deeper details. Making connections with people in or out of your industry will only benefit your future. 


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. They have no real way of determining what you are actually capable of doing or what your personality is really like. Unlike with resumes, which has become quite outdated, 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. 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 a 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 and potentially cause irreparable damage. 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 like doing something until they actually do it and realize they actually want to try something else. 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 you have a genuine interest in the field you are getting into, it will help them with wanting to move 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 like 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. Employers want to find people whose personal brand matches with their brand. 


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


Article updated 10/2/2018