Personal branding is how you are perceived so people remember you, and online personal branding can be tricky. You’re lacking face-to-face human interaction in your social media profiles, so you are relying on knee-jerk reactions about your online presence as well as a short bio to tell someone everything they need to know about you. Every detail matters in your online branding—according to that same CareerBuilder press release, half of employers won’t even consider you unless you have an online presence.
Of course, there are obvious no-nos with your online personal branding. More than half of employers found reasons not to hire candidates based on what they were posting online—39 percent of the time, employers find provocative or inappropriate photos and videos posted by potential candidates, while 32 percent of the time they find posts that are critical of race, gender, or religion. It’s shocking in this day and age that people will post things publicly without thinking of the consequences, but it does happen quite a bit. And you’re not safe once you’re hired, either—more than half of employers use social media to research current employees.
So, how do you put your best face forward? Start with your profile photo. Like it or not, this is the first line of defense in your personal branding. Your photo should be taken from the waist up or with your head and shoulders in the photo; close-ups on the face are often perceived as less likeable. You should dress professionally for your LinkedIn photo: dark business suits or white. Even the lighting matters—flat lighting can cause you to be perceived as less competent and influential. Consider using a professional photographer if possible.
Next, tackle your bio. It should be professional but not too corporate; employers are looking for your personality as much as they are looking for your ability to regurgitate corporate jargon. Be sure to talk about your hobbies and interests in addition to what you can do in your work. Again, don’t be afraid to hire a professional to help you make the best first impression—LinkedIn consultants are a real thing! Keep it short, but don’t forget to mention your career achievements.
Personal branding is a crucial part of building your career these days, and it is almost exclusively done online in this highly digital age. Learn more about personal branding in the digital age from this infographic!