Building Your Digital Presence
This time last year I used social media just like everyone else.
Tweet: SICK PARTY LAST NIGHT!!! (Insert image with strobe lights and DJ).
Sure I got some favorites, I probably even felt cool by hitting fifteen retweets. Yet, I was using this tool for the entirely wrong reasons. I quickly found this out when I nearly lost an internship offer because of it. College is cool but there’s a point where we need to grow up. This realization luckily came to me in time so I completely started from scratch. I learned how I could leverage my social media network to build a reputation in my field and not detract from my resume – but enhance.
According to a study completed by Jobvite, the importance of social media as a recruiting tool is becoming more and more prevalent in all fields of work. When polled, 73% of recruiters stated that they plan to increase their recruitment over social media. With that said, the same recruiters said that they were 55% likely to reconsider a candidate based on their social profiles (Jobvite, 2014). If you’re currently a junior or senior looking for internships, take this into consideration. Anyone can view your social networks. I first took this lightheartedly. However, after working in the field of communications and even receiving interviews from recruiters on LinkedIn, this positive digital presence has become of an importance to me.
So how do I build this online brand reputation?
Clean up or Start Over
It’s never to late to start building a positive presence. Leadership Expert, John Maxwell said it great (Maxwell, 1993):
You will only become what you are becoming now:
Though you cannot go back
And make a brand-new start, my friend.
Anyone can start from now
And make a brand-new end.
Start now by cleaning up your Facebook and Twitter. Delete the party pictures and anything that someone may find even slightly offensive. If you’ve had these mediums for a while now or are a frequent poster consider starting over from scratch.
So you’ve cleaned up your profile, off to a great start! What’s next? Start thinking about how you want to portray yourself to future employers. Your ideas matter, give your professional opinion on a trending topic, find articles related to the industry and provide your insight from the reading, and start connecting with young professionals similar to yourself to see what they are doing. We are all unique because of our ideas – express your individuality in a professional manner.
Optimize and Utilize LinkedIn
This platform is among the leader of all professional social networks and is your shot to get to the get noticed. LinkedIn is the preferred medium used by recruiters so begin utilizing it (Jobvite, 2014). A professional photo is a must, DO NOT use a selfie. Find a friend to take a headshot of you using a decent camera and avoid anything from a phone. On the bright side, LinkedIn helps you build your profile by telling you what you need. Add everything you can and use a multitude of mediums (Dougherty, 2014). Check out this post for more tips and tricks.
Showcase Your Work
It doesn’t matter what field you are in, anytime you get exposure for your work is a positive influence for you. Maintain a blog using WordPress to have your collection all in one place or put what you can on all of your profiles. Employers will take a look at these and you can gain positive recognition and get your work out there.
The most important thing about this digital branding is to stay consistent but still be yourself! Just like your friends, professionals want to get to know you. They don’t want to see about how crazy that party was. Instead they hope to see how you could contribute to their company in the future.
Dougherty, L. (2014, July 8). 16 Tips to optimize Your LinkedIn Profile and Your Personal Brand. LinkedIn Pulse. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140708162049-7239647-16-tips-to-optimize-your-linkedin-profile-and-enhance-your-personal-brand
Jobvite. (2014) Social Recruiting Survey. Time Magazine. Retrieved from https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/jobvite_socialrecruiting_survey2014.pdf
Maxwell, J. (1993) Developing the Leader Within You. Thomas Nelson Publishing Co. ISBN 13:978-0-8407-6744-8
Symonds, M. (2014, March 14). 5 Social Media Tips To Protect Your Future From Your Online Past. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/mattsymonds/2014/03/14/5-social-media-tips-to-protect-your-future-from-your-online-past/