In the digital age, putting yourself “out there” in your career has taken on a whole new meaning. Social media accounts are — literally — at employers’ fingertips. “An inspiring Instagram feed or engaging LinkedIn presence can play an important role in helping applicants to land an interview or maybe even get the job,” says Avon Vice President, Human Resources North America, Gina Fitzsimons.
Bottom line: A savvy digital identity is a virtual goldmine that can help you make connections, spread expertise, and even show employers you’re the right fit for a position. Read on for six simple steps to get your personal brand on the right track.
1. Go in with a strategy.
According to Aliza Licht, public relations guru and author of Leave Your Mark: Land your dream job. Kill it in your career. Rock social media., the first step in creating a personal online brand is deciding how you want to be perceived. Make sure your concept lines up with your profession, and if past posts don’t fit your current vision, consider deleting them.
2. Keep it simple.
Whether you’re working on a photo shoot or trying out a new restaurant, think of how you can share content that you’re already absorbing and creating, versus finding new material. As social media expert Emily Miethner, president and founder of FindSpark, puts it, “The way you manage your personal brand should be natural and integrated into your day-to-day, so it doesn’t feel like a hassle.”
3. Focus on the platform that works for you.
If you read The New York Times each morning, tweeting out articles will come naturally. If your mantra is “photo or it didn’t happen,” Instagram all the way. “There are people in all industries on every platform, and each platform has equal potential to connect you to your dream job,” explains Miethner.
4. Be consistent.
“Repetition is reputation,” Licht tells us. Commit to consistently posting on a topic that aligns with your brand. For instance, as a communications executive, Licht routinely tweeted her public relations tips under the hashtag #PR101.
5. Give shout-outs.
“If I’m at an industry event, I go in knowing the event hashtag and speakers’ Twitter handles,” says Miethner. Giving props to others in your field with @ mentions will help you connect with the right people. And having high-quality followers is more important than having a lot of them.
6. Be fearless.
According to Miethner, the biggest mistake you can make is not capitalizing on the potential of social media to bring career success. “Put yourself out there. Every time you engage with people online, that’s an opportunity waiting to happen.” Just ask Licht, whose former fashion-industry colleague was selling artificial turf in Texas when the two met via Twitter. “Now she’s dressing celebrities,” Licht says. “That is the power of social media!”