When job seeking, having a positive online presence can be the key to a successful search. Being active online also makes you easy to find and more accessible to employers. More or less, everything is now done online, and a lot of job seekers may rely heavily on their own personal websites and career pages. However, it’s easy to use online platforms negatively. It only takes one mistake to gain a bad reputation. If you learn anything from this article, it should be that once you say something online, it’s very hard to take it back. Employers can find you just as easily as you find them. So, how do you go about building your personal brand online?
What does personal brand mean?
Your online brand is your identity. It tells everyone that finds your CV, website, or profile, who you are and what you do. Use this space as wisely as you would use your CV. Use the online space you build to persuade employers that you are the right person. This means displaying your work interests, what you do outside of work, your opinions and who you are.
Your personal brand is all about marketing yourself. Showing employers what you can offer their company and why they should hire you. Kind of like an elevator pitch. It’s important that you show employers what you want them to see. It can be very easy to get caught up in negativity online, so try and steer clear.
Why do I want to create a brand for myself?
You want to use your online space to stand out from the crowd. There are a lot of great candidates out there and you have to be able to stand up against them. It’s no secret that some employers do background checks on their candidates. So, it’s your job to make sure they only see what you want them to see.
It’s imperative to create an instant and lasting impression. Usually, you think of branding as something a business does, but putting yourself out there can be very important. Social media can play a very important part in this, so don’t ever underestimate the power of it.
How to utilise social media
Social media profiles can make or break your online brand. It’s easy to get caught up in conflicting conversations or negative messaging, so try to keep clear and portray yourself in a positive light at all times. Understanding the different social media platforms is a good place to start. It can allow you to understand what you need and how you can use it in your job search.
LinkedIn – This platform is key for job seeking. LinkedIn is used to give you a space to connect with past employers, recruiters, colleagues, and people you may be generally interested in (professionally). This platform is often used to show your work experience, interests and engage in conversation with like-minded individuals. There are ways you can private your profile, but the nature of LinkedIn is to connect and find new professionals.
Twitter – More and more employers are using platforms like Twitter to share their job vacancies and search for candidate’s. Again, it can be very easy to set your profile to private, but Twitter is known for conversation threads, news and sharing posts.
Other social platforms – There are countless platforms and there will be more in the future. However, platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Reddit just aren’t as useful to a job seeker. If you are using other platforms and you’d prefer employers not to see posts, conversations, or pictures of yours. Put them in private mode. This is the easiest way to ensure nothing is seen unless you want it to be.
Use job site profiles
When you are job seeking online and use job sites as part of your search, it’s important to utilise all of the opportunities they give you. A lot of job sites will give you the chance to create your own profile. This usually includes parts of your CV, personal details, the chance to add a photo, personal statement and include jobs you are looking at / have applied for.
As well as your CV, some of these sites will use this additional information to create an additional CV that will be shown to recruiters searching the site. You can also use settings that show recruiters you are available, to make sure you are showing on their radar. Your presence on job sites is just as important as social media profiles and google searches.
If you have a portfolio to show off, a personal website can be the perfect place to do that. You can choose your own URL so it’s easy to find you and share the link on your CV and social pages. A website is yet another way you can share your CV online. It gives you the opportunity to show your portfolio of work, without having to attend interviews first. Sometimes, when you attend interviews, you usually choose a small portion of work to show but with a website, you can display it all. Employers are able to see all of this, beforehand.
It's also a good place to have a PDF version of your CV attached. That way, employers can find out a bit more about you without having to get in contact. Persuading them further that you might be the candidate they have been looking for.
Have a page that talks about you. Who you are, what you do and what kind of job you are looking for. Keep your contact details up to date but refrain from adding your address on websites. It could be more than just recruiters looking and you want to stay safe online.
Websites can be a lot of work and upkeep on this can be a very lengthy task. It’s important to upload new work, when necessary, keep all your personal information up to date and ensure that it’s easy for employers to find. It also does come at a cost. So be aware of this before you make the decision to launch a site.
Have a content plan
When you are trying to build an online presence, it’s important to ensure that everything is up-to-date. This means taking the time to engage with your network, keeping up with conversations and making sure it’s easy to contact you, if necessary. If you do have a website, it’s important to keep uploading your latest work, so people can see what you’ve been working on. (If you’re permitted to share this kind of information)
Having a content plan, even if just a simple one, can really help you stay on track of posting online. You don’t have to post something new every single day, but maybe just once a week, if that fits into your schedule. Whether it be taking part in an engaging online conversation or sharing some of your work, being present is key to engagement. Consistency is key.
An important part of job seeking and having a good personal brand online, is communicating with your network. You want to use your brand online to build a strong network of people that allow you to grow and help you with your career.
Your network can include past and current colleagues, potential employers, people you meet in-person at events or seminars etc, as well as individuals you find interesting in your field of work. Platforms like LinkedIn allow you to reach a specific audience of people and can help you connect with new people as well as people you may already know. It’s about building important industry relationships and allowing these to grow through your mutual interests.
It's important to stay connected with these people, engage in conversation, and make sure you are being an active member of your online community. Stay online, share ideas and be a part of the team.
Keep your information up to date
You want people to be able to contact you. Whether it be people wanting to join your network or potential employers, the worst thing you can do is have out-of-date contact information on your pages. It can be a hassle and something that is easily forgotten, but it’s good to make a habit out of checking this information once a month.
Share your message
Your online brand is all about you. What you want, what you may be looking for in a job, your achievements and just sharing details about you and your job history. You may want to build your personal brand just to get yourself out there and share your portfolio, but for job seeking, you want employers to see only the best. You want them to know from the get-go what you are looking for and how they can help you.
Building an online presence can be such an important part of your job search. It’s still just as important to apply for jobs on job sites and career pages but being visible online can open more doors than you may think. You are accessible to recruiters without even having to apply for roles, you become a part of your online community. There are so many different advantages to building your personal brand and although it takes time and consistent work, it can all pay off in the long run.