Today’s job market is competitive, so having a professional online brand for yourself can assist you to stand out from the crowd, help employers find you more quickly and effectively sell your skills set. Many more employers are increasingly turning to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube to find suitable candidates to fill job vacancies, and we know that they also utilise social media to find out more about applicants. So, how do we start to build a professional brand to help us get noticed?
First and foremost, it is incredibly important to have a professional online presence. When I talk to students about their online branding, I ask them to Google themselves so that they can see for themselves the information and images which are appearing against their name. It never fails to amaze me how many people are surprised by what they see! Try it for yourself and if you are not happy with the information being displayed, delete it. Secondly, you never know who will be looking at your social media profile, so it is a good idea to have the same photograph across all of your social media accounts. Personally, I utilise this practice so that people can find me more easily and it also ensures that my online brand is consistent. It is also important to keep your professional and personal life separate; check the privacy settings on your personal accounts and periodically go back to check that nothing has changed and that you are happy with who can see your personal feed. It goes without saying that it pays to be polite, well-mannered and considerate with your comments even in your private accounts as they reflect your character.
LinkedIn and Networking
Key to building a professional brand for yourself is to use platforms like LinkedIn to showcase your work and education history, as well as your skills set. It is also really useful for networking with other people which can help to get you noticed in the right way; many people I know, including myself, have been offered jobs through LinkedIn so it is worth using this tool to start building your professional brand. Ask other professionals in the field you are interested to work in to connect with you as it this practice will help to build your online presence further and also develop your confidence when approaching people for the first time. You can also publish your written articles on LinkedIn (a bit like blogging) which helps to showcase your writing skills and invite engagement from other people.
It might also be worth considering having a website if you offer a service to the public which then links across your social media platforms. Creative students could think about designing a logo or gif to advertise their design talents. Above all, get out there and get involved with positive and productive activities which demonstrate the type of person you are to others. Make sure you regularly visit your online accounts to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date and that your brand is still relevant and engaging.
If you would like to discuss how to start building a professional brand for yourself to enhance your employability, you can see a Careers Advisor at the college who can advise you. Good luck!
By Sonia Riyait