You’re intelligent, have a great work ethic, you’re passionate, and you keep your cool under pressure. You do everything your boss asks of you (deliver great outcomes and on time) – power house employee, right? Sorry, it might not matter, and you may find you are unemployable.
Your working personal brand is different to your online personal brand. When it comes to hunting for career opportunities, your online personal brand is critical to get right… I would go as far as saying in today’s social media world, it has become “do or die”.
You may think I’m being dramatic, but really, if you miss the tips I share with you in this post, your career can totally stall, no matter how hard you work.
Lucky for you, I was fortunate enough to spend time with Vicki-Anne Craigen, a personal brand expert and Director of Creative Recruiters, and Vicki-Anne shared with me some crucial tips to avoid you railroading your career. And the best part? You can implement these straight away and start kicking career goals.
So, let’s get straight into how to avoid your career being “doomed” and start leveraging your online personal brand immediately.
How social media is ruining your career
Vicki-Anne confirmed that great candidates are not being considered for roles due to their social media profiles (yes, recruiters will thoroughly research you!). In our discussions, it became apparent this was a problem for a lot of candidates, and many had no idea.
This might seem obvious, but it’s going to be difficult for you to get hired when you post inappropriate photos to Facebook, your LinkedIn photo is unprofessional (or even worse, you don’t have a LinkedIn profile!), or you post a YouTube video where you negatively rant about your life, or your workplace or boss (eeek!).
Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have an archive of your pictures and posts, and some of them may not be your “finest moments”. Remember that time you had a few too many vino’s and took all those crazy selfies…?). Fun at the time, but the thing is, they don’t make you overly attractive as a candidate to recruiters and employers.
Or maybe you haven’t spent any time updating your LinkedIn profile, still sporting an outdated photo and no recent job updates i.e. you’ve been working at your current job at “X company” for 2 years but it still says you work at “Y company”.
You might be thinking: “what I do outside of work shouldn’t impact my job opportunities… surely my hard work should trump my drunk selfie posts and outdated LinkedIn profile?”
Sorry to tell you, but it is a big deal, and here’s why:
Your online presence is all they see of you initially…
A recruiter’s job is to present the best candidates to employers. Their reputation depends on it. Therefore, a recruiter will thoroughly screen candidates and review their online presence. They don’t know you, so they’re trying to work out who you are and whether they want to spend their valuable time talking to you.
Vicki-Anne reviews her candidates profile pictures, posts, YouTube videos, and she will check spelling and grammar. And for those in the marketing world, Vicki-Anne also reviews a candidate’s professionalism on their blogs and Vlogs.
Basically, if a recruiter doesn’t like what they see (if it is even slightly unprofessional), they’re not going to refer you for an interview. Pretty straightforward really. And it doesn’t matter what level in your career you are at. One negative image, post, blog or vlog can ruin your chances. Assume anything you post in a public setting will be checked for professionalism. If you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to look at it, don’t post it.
So, what can you do straight away to create a great personal brand and online presence?
Glad you asked. Here’s a list recommended by Vicki-Anne. It’s worth noting here that Vicki-Anne’s company took out the number one ranking for ‘Most Socially Engaged Boutique Staffing Agency’ at the LinkedIn annual recruiter awards for Australia and New Zealand. She knows her stuff alright.
Top 10 tips for creating a professional online presence and personal brand
- Remove any unprofessional content, or better yet, make your social media profiles private.
- Build your online relationships and expand your networks by connecting with people in your industry.
- Start posting and sharing great industry content that shows off your expertise.
- Ensure everything that you publicly post portray you positively.
- You don’t need too much information on LinkedIn (sometimes less is more), however listing your career history and having a professional photo is really important.
- If you want to be found i.e. headhunted, list content on your LinkedIn profile that matches all the attributes and experience a recruiter might want to see. Recruiters will search for great candidates, so use appropriate words on your profile that can be found in SEO searches.
- The companies you have worked for make a difference. Recruiters know who the good companies are, and they look for candidates within those companies. If you know you are in a company with a bad reputation, it’s not a deal breaker but just consider this when looking for new roles (do your research before accepting a role!).
- Provide documents that are easy for recruiters and hiring managers to see how good you are i.e. if you are a graphic designer, submitting a boring word document as a resume just won’t give a good impression. However, if you present a video resume or digital portfolio demonstrating your ability, skills and experience, you will find that you will have much more success.
- For students who typically don’t have too much industry experience, you can show your qualities through examples such as blogs or vlogs, or list projects and initiatives that show you delivered either during your studies or as a hobby/side project.
- Ensure any profile pictures are professional and good quality (no blurred or grainy photos). Smart phones can take amazing photo’s so there is no excuse. Ask a friend or partner to get a good head shot of you (head and shoulders only). It can easily be taken with you in a professional outfit up against a white wall… remember to smile! Have a quick glance at other’s people’s photos and profiles, if you were a recruiter, would you hire these people on first glance? If you were a manager, would you want to work with these people? Why would you or wouldn’t you? Replicate what works and avoid what doesn’t.
Alright, time to get your personal brand and online presence into shape! Big thanks to Vicki-Anne of Creative Recruiters for sharing her wonderful tips with us. You can find out more about Vicki-Anne and her team at creativerecruiters.com.au. If you have the privilege of meeting the team, be sure to meet their Chief Happiness Officer and Chief Security Officer…you’ll thank me later.