I’m still a student. So you might be asking what would I know about landing that dream job when I haven’t achieved it yet?
But after spending almost a year on placement at personal branding website Profiled.com, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to stand out from the crowd when it comes to your online reputation.
I have to admit I am guilty of not yet putting all these tips into practice, but I am working on it… you know what they say – practice what you preach!
With record levels of young people out of work it is vital that you do everything in your power to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd in order to secure that top placement or dream job once you graduate.
The competition for that graduate job is becoming ever fiercer so it is vital that you give recruiters a reason to hire you instead of someone else with a similar academic record, and the best and most effective way to do this is through personal branding.
Personal branding in a nutshell is how you market yourself to others, it is your biggest differentiator and is what will make you stand out from a sea of similar faces – it may be the reason a potential employer invites you for an interview over somebody else.
Personal branding isn’t just for companies and businesses anymore. Personal brands exist, are relevant and need to be managed. For students in particular it has never been more important to manage your personal brand – especially with the job market as competitive as it is today and with recruiters looking for reasons NOT to hire you rather than hire you.
77% of UK recruiters now frequently check search engines to find out more information about candidates with 35% admitting they had eliminated a candidate because of what they found online.
No longer is it your outstanding CV that you will get you a job, your Google results have become your calling card, and if recruiters find something online that reflects you in a negative light then you will be thrown into the reject pile before you’ve even had a chance to prove your worth.
When it comes to your reputation what Google says about you is what the world will think about you. No matter what the truth actually is, if you don’t make the effort to ensure that your name and image are upheld to the highest integrity then the internet can become a playground causing viral defamation to your personal brand.
With many students spending a lot of time on social networks it will not prove difficult for a potential employer to find you on Facebook or Twitter so make sure there is nothing on these sites that could be deemed inappropriate by recruiters.
Pictures of you looking a bit worse for wear or those inappropriate tweets to your friends may put recruiters off inviting you for an interview so always be careful what you share online.
Below are a few tips on how to create an online reputation that will have potential employers eating out of the palm of your hand in no time…now I have to admit it does look a bit daunting but take it step by step and you will be sure to impress:
Tip 1: Engage and Network – Use social networks to your advantage. Don’t just use them to chat to your friends and post your holiday snaps, engage and network with the people that matter. Create a shortlist of companies you would love to work for and follow them on Twitter or like their page on Facebook. Once you’ve done this start to engage with them, whether it’s just a bit of banter or sending them interesting articles. Getting on their radar may get you that foot in the door for when you decide to apply for a job with them in the future.
Tip 2: Blog about your passions – Whether you want to work in the fashion or the lifestyle PR sector, make sure you set up a blog that reflects your passions and interests. Blogging about interesting and relevant things will help to distinguish yourself, boost your online profile and prove to potential employers that you know your stuff.
Tip 3: Contribute to discussions – Many students probably already have a LinkedIn profile but do nothing with and I’m the first to admit my LinkedIn account lay dormant for months until I started my placement and my boss told me I should really fill it in. So, before you do anything, make sure you have fully filled out your profile then contribute to LinkedIn discussions – this may help you make connections with people that could come in handy once you graduate.
As the famous saying goes – It’s not what you know but who you know
Tip 4: Keep your private life under lock and key –Keeping your Facebook page private has never been more important. Many people have been caught out by their activities on social media so make sure you aren’t one of them. If you wouldn’t be happy with you Facebook account being presented in an interview then lock it down.
Tip 5: Use Twitter with caution – If you’re wanting to go into technology PR for example then tweeting about relevant topics may impress – if you’re not and you’ll be applying for jobs in a number of areas – steer clear.
Try not to tweet every few minutes to report the meal you’ve just had/ the film you’ve just seen and the funny thing you’ve just witnessed…cluttering up people’s twitter feeds with irrelevant and un-interesting tweets is annoying and you may find yourself being quickly un-followed.
Also resist the temptation to communicate with friends on subjects that could be deemed inappropriate (you don’t want that conversation being played out in front of your employer as you don’t know their views/sensibilities and in jokes can be taken out of context).
The CV is dead
The new saying on the grapevine is “The CV is dead, the bio is king”.
Your Google results are vital to ensure that first impression is a positive one and in this tough job climate you cannot have anything working against you. Your online reputation is your biggest ally – so use it to your advantage.