While we hope you are all making the most of these warm summer weeks to take a well-deserved break, the (slight) lull of the holiday season can also be a great time to review your personal brand, ensuring that your online profiles are in tip-top condition for the busier autumn months ahead.

This is particularly true in a world driven by social media, where employers are more likely than ever to check out your online presence across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Could your profiles be helping or hindering your career progression? Or are you just missing out on opportunities because you don’t make enough of these important channels?

These thoughts also coincide with our webinar, ‘How to use and optimise LinkedIn’, which we are co-hosting in mid-September (click here to see further details). In an environment in which technology moves at a pace that can quickly leave us mere mortals behind, this webinar goes back to basics, explaining what LinkedIn is and how it works; why it is important; how to build your profile and network; and how this effort will practically help support your career development.

Taking ownership

 

The fact of the matter is that in today’s world of work, a CV is often just the initial push to send prospective employers to search your name online. So how can you ensure that what they find and see presents you in the most positive light to take any conversation/opportunity further? Here are our tips:

 

  1. Google your own name and explore thoroughly what comes up. If there is content that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, explore ways to remove it – de-tagging/removing those pictures of when you were really drunk, for example. Creating new profiles and pages on popular social sites can also ‘drown out’ unwanted search results.
  2. Check your privacy settings across channels and ensure that you have full control on who sees your posts. For example, you can post your holiday pics so that only friends or just you see them, while making any broader discussions ‘public’. Just remember to switch your settings as you move between different forms of content. For safety’s sake, it’s probably as well to avoid posting any pictures anywhere online that would be embarrassing should they leak out!
  3. Once you’re sure you’ve covered these basics, check all of your social media accounts to ensure they paint a coherent picture of your professional self. Ideally use the same photo and bio across each account and update it if it’s more than a couple of years old. Aim for a head and shoulder shot in flattering lighting against a neutral background. Look smart but no need to go for the full-on interview look – you want to seem approachable. Make sure the photo looks like you – there’s nothing more disconcerting if you meet someone for the first time and they look nothing like their photo…
  4. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and includes all your latest experience. If you think you could source some new testimonials/recommendations now is the time to do it. Think also about what updates you could post to engage with your professional community. Is there an upcoming event you could comment on? Or a report coming out that’s relevant to your line of work? This channel is typically the first port of call for potential employers and recruiters, so don’t ignore it (see webinar above if you need to grow your confidence in using LinkedIn effectively)!
  5. If you’re not using Twitter (or only half-heartedly tweeting when you feel like it) then investigate how to use the format properly. Look at the people you would like to work for or influential individuals in your field, follow them and retweet their posts. Engage with what is being said. Make your own comments. Demonstrate your knowledge, without sounding arrogant. You don’t just have to tweet about work – show what a rounded person you are. Twitter is a powerful tool for getting noticed so use it to your advantage.
  6. Boost your CV – and don’t forget that for all your online activity, it’s typically still your CV that will open that first door. So even if you’re not actively seeking a new job, take the time now to ensure that it’s up to date. This ensures that you are ready to respond quickly to any opportunities that might come your way. Regular updates are also easier to manage than having to do a wholesale overhaul of your CV when you’re keen to move on.

 

In this tech-savvy age, it can sometimes feel that there’s only more to do to keep on top of our personal and work lives. When you once just had to think about your CV, there are now multiple channels that you need to consider if you want to move your career forwards. But consider the addition of social media as an opportunity to present yourself in the best light – in ways that your CV, sitting at the bottom of a pile of other CVs, could never achieve. Take control of your online brand and see how it can help you shine.

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