by Joanne Wood
Just as a business needs to sell its products to consumers, you too will need to sell your unique strengths to a potential employer. To do so, you need to know exactly what sets you apart. Developing your personal brand gives you this important insight. Personal branding is a useful way of selling yourself to potential employers.
Your personal brand can be expressed through your CV, the way you dress and present yourself, your skill set and your level of education. When developing a personal brand, you need to consider your reputation, because your reputation must be consistent with your personal brand. In today’s world, your personal brand is largely shaped by what you post on social media. Over time, every post, image and status update contributes to developing an impression of you.
- 30% of all Google searches – about 300 million a month – are employment related.
- 1 in 3 candidates are rejected because of a negative online profile.
- 60% of employers will find you on Facebook, so best delete some of your photos!
Most employers scan social media sites to evaluate an applicant. In a study by CareerBuilder, employers were asked why they use social networks to research candidates, and 65% said they do it to see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally.
About half (51%) want to know if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, and another 45% want to learn more about his or her qualifications.
Social media posts can be challenging, if not impossible to completely erase and, therefore, your social media footprint will certainly have an impact on your employability. Consider the example of Justine Sacco, the former senior director of corporate communications at an organisation in the UK, who ruined her personal brand, became an international spectacle, and did serious damage to her employability when, on a flight to South Africa tweeted, ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!!’
Twitter blew up. In no time Sacco’s tweet was the top-trending tweet worldwide, doing serious, arguably irreparable, damage to her personal brand and employability.
1 in 3 candidates are rejected because of a negative online profile.
Personal Branding and Self-Awareness
A successful personal brand requires self-awareness. Having a solid sense of who you are, your vision, goals and your values, will enable you to develop an online brand that is aligned with your identity.
In developing a positive personal brand online, it is imperative that we are conscientious about what we post. Each status update and image should be thought through. Ask yourself: ‘what impact will this have on my personal brand?’, ‘are there any potential negatives to this post?’, ‘could this post be deemed offensive or derogative in any way’?
Tips for Developing a Positive Personal Brand:
- Proactively develop your social media presence. Update your LinkedIn Profile.
- Understand who you are (self-awareness) and your personal vision, values and goals. Mission statement builder: https://msb. franklincovey.com.
- Read local personal branding guru, Robin Young’s blog for additional tips and ideas: http://www.brandheart.co.za.
Career Builder (2017). Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates Has Increased 500 Percent over the Last Decade, [Online], Available: bit.ly/CareerBuilderSM [9 Feb 2017].
Carver, B. (2015) How Social Media can Help Anyone get a Job, [Online], Available: bit.ly/SearchEngineRecruiting [23 August 2016].
Hiner, D. (2014) 30 Recruitment Statistics. Revealed by Paul English, [Online], Available: bit.ly/LinkedInStats_1 [23 August 2016].