Developing Your Social Profile & Brand

Developing your social profile and brand (…in other words – WHAT people see about you on the internet) is VERY important.  There is a significant difference between personal and professional branding. Your professional brand is what matters to a potential employer.

It should highlight your career and accomplishments. Your personal information should be kept private if at all possible – especially if you are job hunting.  At a minimum – if you’re Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social accounts ARE public then make sure there isn’t anything visible that would turn off prospective employers about what you do on your own time.  You want to make sure your professional brand is current, visible and relevant to what you are doing in your current employment and helps build the story of accomplishment and success – taking the next steps will help you build a successful and professional brand.

Action Item: Why wait – create your Candidate Profile Now

Check Your Online Presence

The best way to see what potential employers see is to Google your name and see if you are present.  What does it look like? Try to be objective when you review your social profiles. Would you be interested in you?  If not – then fix that part of your profile(s).

More and more employers will conduct an online social media search on you and they will find you. You want to make sure they find the professional you.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, I highly recommend you create one as soon as possible.  Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience you still want to have a presence.  When the employer conducts an online search you want to make sure you are up to date and professional.

Keep Your Personal Life Private

Employers will search for you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, private blog posts and any online social media sites they can find so you don’t want to post the photos of what you did on your summer vacation, the parties you attended, or pictures of your favorite bar or nightclub.  This is not what you want a potential employer to see if they are looking to hire you or recommend you for a job.

The more of your private life you put into the public domain, the smaller your private life becomes

You can still have a personal profile, but make sure that it’s only available to the people you want to see it. Use this Job Search Internet Checklist to ensure that employers are finding what you want them to find, and what they are viewing is appropriate.

Be careful what you write, post and rant….even on other people’s social accounts. These include any comments, pictures,  or tweets that can be found. Here are a few helpful resources on how to maintain your online privacy:

Tips for Creating Your Professional Brand

Once you’ve made sure that your personal information is only viewable by who you want to see it, start building your professional brand. Your LinkedIn profile can increase your visibility online and help you build your professional brand.

Use a professional picture on all your social sites, including Facebook, unless you are keeping your Facebook profile completely private.

It is important to document your major achievements and contributions on your LinkedIn account.  Make sure your LinkedIn account matches your resume.  This is your online resume. You will want prospective employers to be able to review your credentials for employment, including your qualifications, your experience, achievements and your skills.  Never get caught with inconsistencies. If you can, ask co-workers, former employers or friends to give you a professional recommend on LinkedIn.

Take these steps to bolster your professional brand and show potential employers or management that you’re ready for the next step in your career.

Other Professional Branding Tools

Write a Blog – A well-written blog focused on your expertise is another good addition to your professional branding presence.

Create awareness – Comment on other people’s blogs. Network within your industry.  Be sure that all your endeavors are focused and relevant to both your skills and your career goals.

Get Your Name Out There – Try to meet, either online or in-person, the important people in your field. Send connect requests on LinkedIn to all people in your field of interest.

Volunteer – Volunteering is another way to gain exposure as an expert in your career. If you have time and if there’s a way to volunteer, do it, it’s a wonderful way to meet people and it builds good credibility, as well. Here are a few volunteer organizations to choose from: Manna Food Bank, United Way Asheville, Hands On Asheville-Buncombe, Asheville Habitat for Humanity,

Keep up the good work

Building your brand takes time and should be an ongoing endeavor. Keep your profiles up-to-date, stay in touch with your contacts, build and maintain your network, and work on your branding on a regular basis.

For more strategic, consider our series on “How to Find a Job in Asheville” here.

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