April 7, 2019

Alex West

Want to Set Yourself Apart Professionally? Embrace Your Personal Presence on Social Media

Personal branding

Many young people, whether intentionally or not, have become engulfed in using social media to promote their personal brand. In their timelines, they present their artistic side, show glimpses into their active social lives, support causes they believe in, and display their sense of humor.  Businesses, of course, have embraced the power of online branding, too. However, social media isn’t only for young people and brands; it’s also for anyone at any age who wants to pursue a new career path or break into a different industry.

Personal Presence and Your Professional Potential

Living in New York City, I’ve learned not only how to catch the perfect aesthetic photo for any situation, but also that the moments I’m capturing and sharing on social media allow me to show employers my capabilities and who I am. My social media activity has become a sort of resume that demonstrates why they should hire me. 

Unlike a typical resume, though, social media (except for LinkedIn) doesn’t explicitly list qualifications and accomplishments. Instead, it communicates personal presence and personality. Labor markets are fierce with competition. Hiring managers receive hundreds, sometimes thousands, of well-constructed resumes; so, a genuine and captivating online personal presence can help you set yourself apart and better your chances of getting invited to an interview.

For years, many people have shrouded personal social media activity in a cloak of negativity. They remind us that everything we share online is there for eternity and warn us to be ultra-wary that anything we post online can potentially ruin our chances of getting hired for our dream job. The fear of making a bad impression has prompted many job seekers to set their social media accounts to “private” and only direct potential employers to their safe, less personally revealing LinkedIn account.

That’s unfortunate. You can bet that companies are going to look up your social media accounts during the hiring process. A public, well-developed social media profile can help employers understand who you are holistically. Moreover, if you have your accounts set up as private, employers might wonder what you might be hiding. Instead, a public profile with a timeline that shows your personal style says, “I have nothing to hide, and here’s who I am beyond my experience, education, and work qualifications.” Investing time and energy into putting your personal brand out there on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook can help prospective employers envision how you will fit in with their company culture.

My Personal Experience With Personal Branding Online

My well-broadcasted Manhattan lifestyle is what helped me land an internship at a radio and media company. After my boss saw my activity and the way I presented myself online, he knew that I had a personality that would work well on the team. By the time he received my resume, he had already decided to reach out to me about the position because he had a direct window to seeing my capabilities and getting to know me.

Stop Hiding and Start Showcasing

The real you is what makes you marketable, and social media gives you a way to show employers your genuine self. If you hide your online personal presence, you will miss out on the opportunity to leverage your unique personality and style. Embrace those opportunities and use your social media to show hiring managers the energy, determination, strength, compassion, and other qualities that make you special.

Alex West is the Creative Director for #Strella Social Media. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also follow her blog, Alex’s Adventures.

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