The need for personal brand social proof is undeniable, but too many executive job seekers dismiss it or don’t understand it.
In this part of my personal branding manifesto 4-part series, we’re looking at online reputation, online identity and social media.
Catch up with the first two parts in this series:
A good-looking, well-written resume used to be king and, along with a strong network, just about all an executive needed to land a job.
But a great resume alone doesn’t cut it any more. Besides, resumes, biographies and other documents don’t look, read, or work the way they used to either.
With the advent of the digital age, job search has become a whole new ball game, requiring personal branding and online presence for social proof . . . and a lot more preparation, planning, and hard work.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is your social media activity and any information that resides online about you. It lends credibility to the claims you’ve made about yourself verbally, and in your LinkedIn profile, executive resume and other job search materials.
Social recruiting is now the norm. The vast majority of executive recruiters source and assess candidates using social media.
Although LinkedIn is now, by far, the most important social network for job seekers, surveys have found one crucial mismatch – job seekers are on Facebook, while recruiters are on LinkedIn.
If it’s been, say, 5 or more years since you’ve been job-hunting, you may think things will happen the way they did the last time you changed jobs.
You dusted off your resume, looked for job openings, and reached out to recruiters. Or you were lucky enough to have a streaming pipeline of opportunities coming in from recruiters throughout your career. Or a job just fell into your lap through some connection.
These things can and do still happen, but these days don’t expect to slide into a new gig so easily . . . especially if you’re neglecting personal branding, LinkedIn and your online presence.
And yet, all too often I hear executive job seekers say self-sabotaging things like:
- “Personal branding is not for me. I’m not a brand, I’m a person. And I don’t like to brag about myself”.
- “I don’t want to ‘put myself out there’ online”.
- “I don’t have time for LinkedIn or any other social network”.
3 Things About Personal Brand Social Proof You Need To Know
1. Personal Branding Is No Longer Optional
- What it is about you that makes you unique and valuable?
- How to position and present yourself?
- What kind of content to write about yourself?
You’ll end up with generic content in your resume, biography, LinkedIn profile, etc., trying to cover too many bases. Your content probably won’t resonate with anyone. And it won’t differentiate you from the competition.
2. Having an Online Presence Is No Longer Optional
Most executive recruiters turn to LinkedIn first, and then other online platforms, to find and assess candidates based on what exists about them online.
Ignoring LinkedIn, in particular, for reputation management and personal brand-building can be career suicide.
Job seekers who have a diverse, compelling online footprint are more attractive to recruiters and employers than those who have little or no presence online.
Those who are not visible and at least somewhat active online, may never be found by the very people they need to be smack dab in front of.
If Googling “their name” yields little to no search results, they’ll likely be passed over for someone who has a vibrant, diverse online footprint.
The more web pages associated with their name, the stronger their candidacy, and the stronger the likelihood they will be a person of interest.
When writing content to build online presence, you must always be mindful of your personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This involves identifying and including in brand-reinforcing content the relevant keywords and phrases that will help you be found by recruiters and hiring decision makers.
How do you uncover these critical personal SEO keywords and phrases? By carefully researching each company and industry you’re targeting.
3. Personal Brand Social Proof Can Tip the Scales in The Job Seeker’s Favor
Recruiters and hiring professionals Google job seekers’ names before reaching out to them. They’re looking for social proof to validate the claims they’ve made in their resume and other career documents, and to corroborate their personal brand.
They want to verify that candidates are who they say they are, and to learn more about them.
When people post information about themselves online, they’re less likely to stretch the truth. We all hesitate posting anything online, for all the world to scrutinize, that isn’t accurate and can be outed by colleagues, employers or others who know better.
Discrepancies between the documents job seekers provide hiring professionals and what they find about them online can red-flag their candidacy.
Social proof helps reinforce your good-fit qualities and positions you as an up-to-date social media-savvy candidate, who knows how to operate in the digital age.
Have you embraced the 3 things I described above?
Now you’re ready for Part 4 – Two Little-Used Ways to Build Social Proof for Your Personal Brand.