Tag Archives: personal brand

Being Socially Smart – Part 1

By Rebecca Warner, Founding Member of Social Assurity LLC. Rebecca can be reached at rebecca@socialassurity.com.

You’ve finished the first semester, 2013 is over and you’ve been celebrating because, well, you deserve it.

Your grades are right where you want them, your roster of leadership and volunteer activities is ever-increasing, your resume is polished and you’ve been networking since forever.  As you transition into spring semester, the hunt for your next job/internship/externship is on. But what if a few words or an image could derail all of this? All of your hard work, talent, dedication, time…rendered useless. What if you are actually the person derailing it?  And worse yet, what if you don’t even realize it?

Let’s talk about your social media. Social media is one of the most important parts of your brand..yes, you’ve got one. And surprisingly some students don’t recognize this..to their detriment. For some, it’s an afterthought. For others it’s given no thought. Some may think of social media as personal…merely self expression among friends. Personal views on social media aside, the moment it is accessible on the internet, it’s no longer private.

Having spent ten years in private investigations, I can tell you that social media searches are a huge part of corporate due diligence and pre-employment investigations. Be careful. Real decisions are based on the information people find researching a candidate…and have no doubt that they will research. If you are applying for a job, internship, externship, volunteer position, scholarship, grad school, board position, tutor/mentor position, etc. someone will likely research you. Even your potential dates are looking you up.

But it’s not just potential employers. Perhaps even more importantly for you it’s recruiters and hiring managers who may be looking for you even if you haven’t applied to a job. According to a 2013 JobVite study, “94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts and 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media.”

A nationwide survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder found “that nearly two in five companies (39 percent) use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 37 percent last year.”  Additionally, the study found that “more than two in five (43 percent) hiring managers who currently research candidates via social media said they have found information that has caused them not to hire a candidate, up 9 percentage points from last year.”  The line between personal and professional space is blurred. You will be professionally assessed against your personal content.

Managing your social media is a life skill not just a job skill. People view social media as providing a raw, unfiltered look at someone. What are people seeing when they look at what they think is the ‘real you’? After all, it’s your content. You are creating it, publishing it and disseminating it. Even if you feel it’s an invasion of “privacy” and you shouldn’t be judged on it, it’s the “you” they are seeing.

Your digital footprint is your virtual first impression. So, take a moment to think about yours. What does your digital footprint say about you? Is your social media working for you? Against you? Is it doing anything at all for you?

Can anybody find you? Are you visible? Would anybody want you if they found you? When someone hires you, they are hiring all of you not just your exceptional talent. That person is hiring a human being that will be part of a team within a company culture and you will become a reflection of the organization. So, what does your virtual resume say? If you neutralized yourself by deleting your posts and photos then it’s a blank page, it says nothing. Sterile doesn’t persuade employers that you should be on their team.  Show and tell who you are. You have to be persuasive. If you’ve shut down your social media completely or are using a fake name you are missing opportunities. Be authentic. Convince potential employers that you would be a stellar addition to their team and would mesh well with other employees.

Part 2 of this blog will provide recommendations on how take control and build your online presence. At Social Assurity, we say if people are looking, give them something to see. Your social media is one of your biggest assets.

How to Tuesday *Employer Perspectives*: Building a Personal Brand

Noelle K. Barnes                                                                                                           Managing Director, Abstract Marketing, LLC                                                                  Abstract Marketing LLC is a provider of marketing and brand building solutions for small businesses, filmmakers, retailers, artists, authors and entrepreneurs. Ms. Barnes earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Entertainment Business from New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study in 2004. She graduated with two pursuits in mind: blazing an off-the-beaten career path fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit, and helping to empower new voices and fresh brands beyond the mainstream. Learn more about Abstract Marketing and their work by visiting www.ThisIsAbstract.com.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and you’re in the midst of finalizing plans for a kick-ass spring break. You have a few networking events to attend as you begin the hunt for your summer marketing internship (remind yourself not to drink too much of the free wine), plus a friend from home is in town visiting. In between showing her your favorite East Village haunts and uploading the photo recap onto your Facebook page, take a moment to read this blog and brush up on your personal branding etiquette.

1)  Image is not everything, it’s THE THING. I know you’ve been told that landing your first job in marketing is all about your prior work experience, internships, that elusive “inside connection,” your academic credentials and GPA. It’s not. Well okay, it is in large part. But another large part comes down to how well you package the total you. Are you someone a prospective employer feels they could get along with? Do you reek of alcohol, awkwardness and wrinkles, or is it the scent of optimism, confidence and freshly ironed pants that will linger on after you have left the building?

2)  Beware of what I like to call “Word of Web.”  WOW is 15 Mbps faster than word of mouth and twice as sticky.  Nowadays, employers are even more likely to Google candidates during the evaluation process than they are to call up a reference. It’s wonderful to have a life, but follow moms advice here and keep PG rated social media profiles that hover safely in the “high employability zone.” Check out the article ‘Facebook Can Tell You If A Person Is Worth Hiring’ on Forbes.com for more insights on this.

3)  Also, consider developing a website or blog with your full name as the domain name. With help from a free blog developer like WordPress.com, you can purchase and design your own domain URL for less than $20 a year. Then, you can own the first result for your name in Google and other search engines. To start, add your picture, a short bio, your e-mail address and links to the rest of your online presence (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr). Claim your name before someone else does. Take control of your online branding, plus enable people to get in touch with you via their medium of choice.

4)  Build your network. During your spring semester, try to attend at least one event per week to meet potential employers and tastemakers in the marketing and advertising industry. Luckily, you’re living in NYC where there’s never a shortage of opportunities to mingle. In addition to browsing the Wasserman Center Calendar of Events, check out Adage’s event calendar and sign up with Eventme.com to stay updated on professional, cultural & recreational events where you should see and be seen.

5)  Speaking of networking, what are you going to say to all these amazing new people you’re about to meet? Practice your introduction. It should become second nature as you will be introducing yourself often in the coming years. Start with 25 words or less that summarizes your background and what type of career you are seeking to build. Keep the information relevant to your audience and speak with enthusiasm. Also, do your research. Find a topic or current event of interest to your audience, have an opinion, and before you know it, you’ve started a conversation. The best thing you can do is engage others, ask questions, and get them to do the same. And remember, when you earn a new contact’s business card, don’t forget to follow-up quickly with an email that expresses your gratitude and invites them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

At this stage of the game, you would do well to reference the personal branding practices of professional marketers in establishing your own brand— online and offline. Establish a confident visual package, mine your social networking profiles for employer red-flags, claim your domain name, frequent networking events and practice your introduction.

Happy Branding!