CREATE YOUR PERSONAL ONLINE BRAND
WITH SOCIAL MEDIA & CO

An important part of your career is your reputation − both online and offline. In this context, your online brand takes on a special meaning since today’s employers do not only fill their jobs in the classic way. How does that effect you? You may be spending less time looking for a job in the future.

“Classic” means posting the job advert on a job board, requiring the candidates to send in their applications, including cover letter, CV and appendices. If the employer likes an application, he will invite the respective candidate to an interview − a procedure that has been standard for years.

Today, the job search is turned around by employers or the recruitment agencies they assign with this task. They no longer wait for the right candidate to come their way but proactively search for them and directly offer them jobs. Not having an online brand, or one that is meaningless or inconsistent, will lower your chances of being found and requires you to keep searching for jobs yourself.

Gestalten Sie Ihre persönliche Online-marke mit Social Media & co.

“Classic” means posting the job advert on a job board, requiring the candidates to send in their applications, including cover letter, CV and appendices. If the employer likes an application, he will invite the respective candidate to an interview − a procedure that has been standard for years.

Today, the job search is turned around by employers or the recruitment agencies they assign with this task. They no longer wait for the right candidate to come their way but proactively search for them and directly offer them jobs. Not having an online brand, or one that is meaningless or inconsistent, will lower your chances of being found and requires you to keep searching for jobs yourself.

Analyse your online brand

First things first, take a subjective view of your current online brand.

1. Use search engines

Use Google and other major search engines to search for your name. What you see is what the rest of the world sees. If you don’t like it, don’t despair, it can be changed. Continue reading to find out how.

2. Do you use social media platforms to your advantage?

Chances are you are already an active member on a number of social media networks. So grab a pad and pen, list all of your social accounts, and compare each of your profiles side by side.
The key to a strong personal online brand is consistency. Depending on the context, we recommend that each of your social media profiles is consistent – e.g. the same profile image, tagline, about me section and tone of voice.

Save time for future applications

After the analysis, take the next steps to strengthen your online brand: clean up your social media accounts. If you're afraid of the effort, consider how much time you spend on average writing a cover letter and putting together a (digital) application folder – time you may be able to save in the future. The following advice will help you put your plans into practice.

3. Smile!

We’ve all seen it, that cringe-worthy photo from a friend’s birthday party that she’s now using as her LinkedIn profile picture. Do not fall into this trap. Your profile picture is one of the most impactful aspects of your social media presence, for two main reasons:

  • It makes you human. Nobody likes to get in touch with an anonymous XING or LinkedIn user.
  • You’ll be recognised. The probability that one of your contacts will identify you in real life is higher if you use a recent photo.
  • Take a picture of yourself (and only yourself) that shows your head, neck and shoulders. Look into the camera in a friendly and natural way – and smile!
  • Make sure that your company logo is not visible in the picture. People tend to identify with people, not companies.
  • Use the same photo for all your online profiles. This will help you build a strong brand and you will be easily recognised.

4. Secure your name

Protect yourself from ‘cyber-squatters’ on social media platforms by using a consistent user name across all sites. You can check the availability of usernames visiting namechk.com.

You should also take a few moments to secure your personalised URL on LinkedIn. This will both boost your search engine ranking results, and make it easier for people to track you down on LinkedIn.

5. Check your privacy settings

Become au fait with the privacy settings of each of your social channels before it’s too late. Take control and only allow your audience to see what you want them to see.

6. What information would you like to share about yourself?

Ok, so this bit requires some thought. What sets you apart from everyone else? Why should people take the time to visit your social media profile? The bio you use for your social media profiles should sum up your personal brand in a concise and compelling way.

Invest less time in finding a job in the long term

Having well-structured profiles is already half the battle. But you also want to make sure that others will notice and find you – so put yourself out there. Ultimately, the following steps will save you time for your job search in the long run.

7. Don’t be shy

Online conversations are happening everywhere, all the time, so don’t be shy, get involved. Whether it be commenting on a blog post, or responding to a discussion in a LinkedIn group, this is a great opportunity to showcase your expertise. Comment as often as you can, as this will ensure you stay in the forefront of your network’s minds. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be so good that your network won’t be able to ignore you. But remember: Think before you post and avoid highly emotional topics (and thus unpleasant reactions).

Finally, if you really want to go the extra mile, consider starting your own blog. With a little time and a lot of commitment and focus you can build the go-to online resource for your area of expertise, which will further differentiate you from your competition.

8. Make sure that you can easily be found online

Use About.me to make it even easier for people to find you. This online branding tool will allow you to create a personal homepage, add a bio, your CV, a profile picture and links to all of your social media profiles. Once you’re done, you will have created your very own SEO-friendly online hub which will allow anyone to interact with you in whatever way they wish.

9. Keep an eye on your personal brand online

There are a number of tools you can use to monitor your personal brand online including:

  • Google Alerts: By signing up to Google Alerts, each time you are mentioned online, you will receive an automatic alert sent directly to your inbox. You can then ensure you are the first to write a comment response, retweet or send a personal message in response, thus strengthening your personal brand even further.
  • LinkedIn-SSI: The Social Selling Index (SSI) is recommended for those who focus their personal branding activities on LinkedIn. The SSI puts your own digital sales success in relation to your industry and rates it on a scale of 0 to 100.
  • BrandYourself: If you want to use a solution with a graphical overview, you should have a look at the tool BrandYourself. The tool checks whether the search entries are positive or negative and compiles a report for you after the analysis. In addition, the tool makes suggestions on how you can improve your personal branding. There is a free basic version and a paid version, which provides an extended range of functions.

This plan will help you build and monitor a strong personal online brand. It will complement the reputation you've built in real life over years and helps employers identify you as a candidate for interesting job opportunities. The positive thing is that if you're looking for work and are proactively approached, you usually don't have to write a letter of application.