“Everyone has a brand in the market, but if you’re not curating it, someone else will,” career coach Janet Tuck says.
Ninety per cent of New Zealanders aged between 18 and 39 use social media, according to Colmar Brunton research.
But not everyone is using it to their professional advantage.
“Kiwis seem to fall into two camps with social media, they are either very savvy or completely naïve about the implications it has on their career,” The Career Clinic’s Janet Tuck says.
“Recruiters and potential employers will be checking your social media channels to not only see your ‘professional brand’ but to also see what your life looks like outside of work to see if you would fit the culture of an organisation,” Tuck says.
“Don’t underestimate the value of your brand and establishing who you are on social media.
“It’s becoming more critical than it ever has been, so keep active,” Tuck says.
Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition at Westpac, Clare Montgomerie, agrees that building a professional brand on LinkedIn is essential now.
“Westpac NZ uses LinkedIn to advertise new roles but HR also uses it to headhunt potential candidates as well.
“We would also look at a candidate’s Facebook page and other social media channels to see what connections they have and see if their public profiles are appropriate.
“If somebody’s online comments or photos seemed inappropriate, it would put me off recruiting that person,” Montgomerie says.
Montgomerie added that even once you’re employed, it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting into the public arena and how that impacts your professional image.
Janet Tuck gave REDnews her top tips for building a social media brand:
- The word ‘brand’ can sound intimidating, but it’s just a way for people to understand who they are and what an employer will get if they hire you.
- First you need to understand your skillset and the way you do things. How do you lead and how do you manage situations? That is how you differentiate yourself from others.
- Present and personalise your skills and use some flair to differentiate yourself.
- Outline what you have achieved in the past and demonstrate what you will bring to the next role.
- Add personality to your profile so that companies can see how you will fit into the culture of a workforce.
- Keep active on social media at least once a week, don’t stay silent for months or years until you are looking for a new job.
- Be strategic about who you connect with because you need the right connections to show you are relevant in your profession.
- Be aware of what you like and comment on. If you would not want your potential employer to see it, don’t post it.
- Don’t criticise a current or previous employer on social media, because you might be seen as troublesome in the workplace.
- Coarse or rude language should also be avoided on all social media platforms that can be seen publically.
If you’re not sure whether your social media brand is reputable, Tuck recommends Googling your name in a Google incognito webpage to see what comes up.
She also recommends scrolling through old social media posts to delete anything that might be damaging your reputation.
“Don’t underestimate the value of your brand and establishing who you are.
“It’s more critical now than it ever has been,” she says.