Tell me about yourself.
How often is this question asked to new college graduates entering the work force? A lot. Instead of freezing up in front of a potential employer, start creating your own personal brand now. Your online presence has the ability to speak for you, and employers are going to Google you before calling you in for an interview. (The Daily Muse, 2009)
Many companies use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and personal blogs to screen potential employees. So monitoring what you post on these sites does have an impact on your future career. According to CareerBuilder’s latest social media recruitment survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals and more than 3,000 full-time U.S. workers, 60 percent of employers revealed that they use social networking sites to research job candidates. (McDonnell, 2016) 60% That means there’s a greater chance that your future employer is going to do some snooping.
That doesn’t mean go and delete all of your social media sites, or set them to private. This will do more harm than good. More than two in five employers (41 percent) say they are less likely to interview job candidates if they are unable to find information about that person online — a 6 percent increase since last year. (Grass, 2016)
Here’s how to start creating and fine tuning your personal brand now:
1. Create a Personal Brand Statement
This isn’t a bio or elevator pitch. Your statement is 1-2 sentences answering what you are the best at, who your audience is professionally, and how you do it uniquely. It sums up your unique promise of value. Every description of yourself from now on will stem from your personal brand statement.
A personal brand statement it catchy, quick, and memorable. Search up some professional twitter bios; they’re under 160 characters, give a snapshot into who the person is, what they do, and insight into how they do this.
2. Determine What Your Personal Brand Stand For?
Sit down and think long and hard about what it is your personal brand is going to convey and how are you going to sell it. Think about the way you present yourself in your photos–what are you wearing, is this a photo you would proudly show an employer?
It’s important to think long and hard about your personal brand, all the way down to the small details. What are your goals, what skills do you have to offer, what is your work ethic like, how do people benefit by working with you? These are all important questions to think about when creating your personal brand.
3. Identify Your Target Audience
One of the most crucial parts to creating your own personal brand is to understand your target audience. Who is it that will be seeing your social media accounts? What message are you trying to get across to those who will be seeing your sites?
Once you understand your target audience, you can tailor your posts to appeal to that group of people.
4. Sensor Your Social Media
Once you’ve identified your personal brand statement, what your personal brand stands for, and who your target audience is then it’s time to do some cleaning. There are many great tools out there to help you manage and maximize your social media presence. A lot of these have free tools to help flag potentially harmful posts on all of your social media sites, but to really clean house, you’ll have to spend some cash.
Instead, you can DIY. While you might think you’re documenting all of the exciting times you had throughout college, or that weekend at Coachella, these can potentially be damaging to your image. Images and posts about college parties, alcohol, drugs, scandalous outfits, or anything questionable should be wiped from your social media. Making them private won’t help either as many companies have ways around these privacy settings.
Moral of the Story
The world is watching you. By taking control of your personal brand and online presence, you’ll be setting yourself up for career success. Investing in yourself is one of the most beneficial move you can make at this point in your life.