Social media has taken the world by storm. Not only has it become an addictive communication and sharing tool amongst friends but it is now employed in both business networking and recruiting. A recent study by CareerBuilder.com showed that 45 percent of employers use social networking sites to screen applicants often eliminating candidates as a result of what they unearth online. So as well as taking down the drunken slurs from your blog, you also need to take full advantage of the array of online media available and brand yourself in a way that can be both lucrative and beneficial.
A blog is a great way to promote yourself online and to show off your interests and talents. WordPress and Blogspot are easy platforms to use enabling blogs to be created in a matter of minutes. The hard part is deciding what to write and what to leave to a bottle of Rioja and a ranting session with your friends. So as much are you would like to vent your anger about the uncountable Starbucks trips for your manager’s morning caffeine fix during your internship don’t, as you may get caught. Also potential employers may be less likely to hire you after seeing the comments you have written about your previous boss. Instead keep it private and do it the old-fashioned way in a personal diary.
Online portfolios are another simple but effective way to get yourself ‘out there’. Include your CV (in a PDF version for ease of printing), links to your web presence (which can include blogs, social networking sites or simply anything related to your chosen career) along with samples of your work (for example marketing students should provide copies of branding reports they have written or aspiring journalists should provide an array of articles which they have written).
Also, you don’t need to build a crowd of followers like Stephen Fry to use social networking sites such as Twitter but what you should be doing is following relevant industry specialists to ensure that you are in the know about all the current events and issues. It is also worth noting that Twitter is highly ranked in Google so keep mundane ramblings about the weather to yourself and exploit this outlet as a promotional tool and use the biography section to sell yourself to potential employers.
Finally, keep it consistent. Use the same or similar name for all your different online outlets to make it easier for people to remember you. Creating a nickname or alter ego can make you stand out from the crowd and create a more memorable web presence but sometimes intentionally acting differently can send out the wrong message as you must remember that not everyone has the same sense of humour as yourself. Everything you do online can be used as a form of personal branding and promotional tool showcasing your skills, values and expertise. The evolution of the internet has created a platform where you can construct a personality for yourself online and it this platform which can be exploited to help you on the way to achieving your career goals.