All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called “You!”Tom Peters, Fast Company
These days, it’s not enough to own a business or even a side-hustle. We also have to show up with a personal brand.
According to Forbes, “Creating the right personal brand will not only help you be known in your field and consistently land work but it could be the difference between “Who are you?” and “Thank you for being here” in your career.”
But, creating your personal brand can be daunting. If you don’t know what it is, where to begin, or why it’s even important: fear not! Remember that your personal brand starts with something you already know incredibly well: you. While inspiration and guidance on creating your personal brand are always helpful, you’ll no doubt succeed if you always bring your personal brand back to your authentic self and most driving mission.
In this article, we’ll talk about what personal branding really is, why it is so important, and all the in’s and out’s of using your personal brand on social media to land a job. You’ll feel more prepared than ever to create your own, memorable, personal brand with social media.
To understand personal branding, let’s start by defining branding. The obvious aspects of branding include your visual identity, the colors, mood, logos, images, tone, and voice that you use to tell the world about your business. Yet branding is more than looks alone. Branding is the story your business tells. As Jeff Bezos clearly put it, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Now, on to personal branding.
Personal branding is the act of curating everything you put out into the world (your social media, your blog posts, your products, and offers) to tell the story of who you are. You can use a personal brand to showcase yourself as an expert, an influencer, a business, or even to land your next job.
Social media has made creating a personal brand easier than ever. In fact, some personal brands exist only on social media. How you use social media to market your personal brand will depend on your personal brand goals, career path or business type, and audience. For now, let’s assume you do plan to use social media to elevate your personal brand.
So, how do you start defining your personal brand on social media? Depending on the platform you’re using, you could post on-brand images of yourself, your life, your family, your pets, your interests and hobbies, and even your food. But remember the word curate. Personal branding is not about sharing everything. It is about sharing the right things to tell your story. And that means knowing what to leave out!
A common question job seekers ask these days is, “Do I really need a personal brand?” As technology, social media, and content curation becomes more and more important in our modern era, the answer is yes.
According to Forbes, your personal brand is your new resume. John Hall, the co-founder and president of Calendar, strategic advisor for Relevance, and best-selling author, often hires without ever looking at a candidate’s resume. Hall considers a resume a “highlight reel.” He also believes that a conversation with a person shows much more about who they are and the work they can do than a piece of paper.
Hall isn’t the only business owner who hires without considering a resume. With the world moving more toward digital communication and workflow, and considering Millennials and Gen Z less likely to get higher education degrees than ever before, people are often hired solely on their merit, personality, and skills, rather than their educational background or prior job experiences.
This is why it is so important to not only have a polished resumé and prepare well for your interview. Also consider your social media presence and your personal brand when preparing to meet potential employers.
Your personal brand is not just your social media content. It is the authentic personality you pledge to show up with every day. Let your personality shine through! According to Huffington Post, “Employers not only hire based on your skill set, they also hire because of cultural fit, often the latter more than the former.” You wouldn’t want to work with people whom you disagree with or have nothing in common with, right? Exactly, so you can expect that your prospective employer wouldn’t want to hire somebody they believe will not represent them, their brand, and their company well.
Oh yeah, they do! More often than not, recruiters look at and consider social media profiles when hiring. It’s possible that those with a higher social media following and more dedicated personal brand will get hired over someone who hasn’t established a personal brand for themselves. This seems unfair, but it comes down to the idea that someone who has spent time curating their own brand will be able to represent the brand of the company better.
For example, if a potential hire has 10k followers and loves coffee, a coffee shop is more likely to hire them so that their shop is marketed to like-minded individuals. Another example is that employers love to show off their team. So, if a new hire has a good following and a well-curated social media profile, the employer may assume that this new hire is well-liked in their community and will blend well into the company culture.
This is also why it is so important to think before you post. You can read that again. It’s true! And it doesn’t stop once you land a job.
According to Business News Daily, 57% of surveyed employers said that they found something during social media screenings that caused them not to hire a candidate. So, what are recruiters or potential employers looking for when they look at your social media?
Potential recruiters are looking for:
More importantly, what makes recruiters not want to hire a candidate? According to Business News Daily, these are the main reasons why recruiters will not hire someone based on their social media profile:
Public social media, no matter the platform, should be professional and polished.
Instagram is a very different platform from Facebook, and should follow an aesthetic that represents you and your brand. This means posting photos that curate your ‘vibe.’ For instance, if you are passionate about coffee, ranching, tiny living, and family life, make sure your posts resonate with a wider range of prospects. Then, edit and curate your posts so that they look consistent in your grid. The photo below is one example of a uniform and aesthetically pleasing Instagram grid.
Your Facebook profile, on the other hand, can be less focused on aesthetics. Because it can include many different things, your Facebook profile should represent who you are, while keeping things professional. You should refrain from posting inappropriate photos or personal ideologies. For potential employers, this can be a red flag if your political or social ideologies do not align with your potential company.
If necessary, you may consider having a personal social media as well as a professional/public social media presence. This way, you can keep your social media professional for potential recruiters while also having a space to showcase your more personal (and maybe less professional) attributes.
To do this, make sure that your personal social media is set to “private.” Also, ensure it does not contain your full name. Though this may seem secretive, if your personal social media is in any way connected to your professional social media, then recruiters will be able to do a simple search and find you.
If you do not want to have separate social media profiles, then consider making your social media private. However, you won’t be able to use social media to showcase your personal brand, which could be just as important as your resume.
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
You’re now ready to start building a personal brand that showcases who you are and what you have to offer. Creating this personal brand, and knowing how to use social media to your advantage is extremely important when landing your next job or developing your career.
Personal brand is the new. So, be sure to treat it as such. Stay professional, use creativity, and don’t be afraid to be you! That’s just what a prospective employer is looking towards.
Best of luck using your authentic personal brand to land the job of your dreams!
PS: When the world has you by the coattails, consider this pleasing Spring cocktail.