By now, most job seekers know that anything posted to social media is potentially available to recruiters, future employers and current bosses. In addition to adjusting their privacy settings and de-tagging pictures of themselves doing body shots on spring break to hide certain aspects of their lives, job hunters and those seeking career advancement can use social media to create a personal brand showcasing their skills to further their career goals.
To create a cohesive brand, job hunters should create an identity that is consistent across social media sites. A LinkedIn profile highlighting job related skills is great, but when compared against a Twitter feed of half-naked mirror selfie Twitpics, the professional message may be lost. Removing questionable content and carefully customizing privacy settings is the first step toward creating an online identity and brand.
After culling through each social media profile to remove content, job hunters should then start adding content that will appear publicly to build their brands. Posting articles related to industry news with thoughtful commentary to their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, joining groups related to their professional interests and actively engaging in discussions in those groups, blogging or creating an interesting Tumblr may all be ways to highlight knowledge and expertise. Additionally, job hunters should carefully consider which endorsements received through LinkedIn to accept. If they don’t really possess the skills or the endorser doesn’t have knowledge of the skill, it may be best not to accept the endorsement.
Setting up Google alerts is another way to control what employers may see when performing their due diligence. The job hunter will be able to immediately react to any negative information that appears about them or someone with a similar name to protect the integrity of their brands.
Job hunters should remember that perception is everything. Building a cohesive online brand can allow them to control how they are perceived, possibly giving them an edge to land a job, gain valuable contacts or score a promotion.
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