Imagine getting a call for that senior-level executive position you’ve been longing for.
It all goes well until the interviewers look at your social media profiles.
There are some photos and posts you’d rather your prospective employer didn’t see, which reflect badly on your professional image.
It needn’t be that way. It’s time to smarten up your online presence to make the best impression and help you land that dream job.
Using Online Branding to Secure Your Dream Executive Position
The interview is crucial, but it is only one part of the hiring process. Some studies have shown that 9 out of 10 companies check and evaluate the online presence of their potential executive candidates.
Some executive candidates put their social media accounts on private and delete their personal information from the internet. The idea is to avoid any chance of recruiters getting hold of any potential information that may jeopardise their executive application.
However, studies have shown that half of the recruiters used the internet to find out more about candidates. Also, some companies are reluctant to even offer an interview to candidates who don’t have an online presence and online branding.
It’s not that they’re looking for something negative about you. Most are looking for information that:
- Supports your qualifications for the executive position
- Shows if your personality will be the right fit for their organisation’s culture
- Conveys a professional image
- Highlights your communication skills
- Displays your creativity in finding solutions
You could also use online social networks to your advantage. Social media is an excellent tool for reaching out and engaging with potential executive recruiters.
Make sure your online branding matches your resume branding
Once recruiters get hold of your resume/CV, they may go online for social proof, to check its accuracy. So before submitting a resume/CV, check your online profiles and make sure the details match. By doing so, you can present a consistent professional image.
Check the accuracy of the facts and dates. Make sure that your online information confirms what you wrote on your resume/CV.
For example, if you present yourself as an experienced executive, you should show a professional network that contains relevant endorsements and recommendations of your abilities. One such site is LinkedIn.
Regularly check your posting history and use specific privacy settings
Consider your online presence as an asset in your executive job search. Keep in mind that any content you post should accurately reflect your:
- Personal brand
- Involvement with the industry
Consider deleting any posts that will damage the online professional image you’re building. Don’t hide the posts since someone can take a screenshot and repost it with your name tag. Instead:
- Permanently remove such posts
- Double check your content before posting it online
- Remember, if you set your profile to private, other users can still quote you
Create or optimise your social media profiles to improve online branding
If you’re hunting for an executive position, you should have a LinkedIn profile because:
- It’s the most extensive online professional community
- It’s an excellent place to promote your branding
- It makes you a more attractive candidate
Consider optimising your LinkedIn profile by:
- Making your profile URL user-friendly – display your name rather than some random characters.
- Expressing your professional aspirations in the headline (located directly under your name). It will grab any recruiter’s attention and make you stand out from the rest.
- Getting endorsements and recommendations. These will help boost your credentials and act as social proof of your skills. Make sure to mention any relevant projects you have taken part in and any outstanding achievements. Consider asking colleagues and bosses for such endorsements and do the same for them in return. If you’re writing recommendations for others make sure that they’re detailed, on-point, and short, so that it encourages others to do the same for you in return.
We often use Facebook for posting personal stuff. However, recruiters also use this social network platform to check on potential candidates. Start checking your profile by going to the right-hand side of your profile. Click the question-mark symbol and use this ‘Privacy Check-up’ to select:
- Who’ll see your future posts
- The apps you have used
- The ability to delete unused or unwanted posts
- Who can see your profile
Next, go to your activity log (you can find it within the privacy settings menu). Check everything you’ve posted, both public and private. Remove any pictures or items that can tarnish your image like excessive drinking.
In your privacy settings, check all your pictures that you’re tagged in for review before posting on your timeline. If your friends have tagged you in photos you don’t like, ask them to remove the tag or delete the pictures.
If you have posts in which you’re ranting or raving about issues, like politics or relationships, remove them. Delete anything that could potentially create a wrong impression of you.
If it’s a professional blog, you can:
- Demonstrate your expertise in your field or industry
- Show your level of communication skills
Also, consider checking your personal blog if you have one. If possible, edit and remove any articles that can give a negative impression of you.
Job boards posts
You’ve probably posted your resume/CV on many job boards and recruitment websites. Then, once you secured a new position, you may have forgotten about your old resume/CV. However, the outdated profile can leave a wrong impression with prospective recruiters. Be sure to delete your old resume/CV or update it and include relevant keywords to improve your online branding.
Other social networks
There’s a chance that you may have created accounts on various social media networks like:
You can edit and update these accounts to enhance your personal brand. If this task is unfeasible on a specific account, then it’s better to delete it.
If you still have a MySpace account, consider deleting it even if it doesn’t contain any compromising content or photos. It may give the impression that you’re behind the times.
Use search engine results to remove any unwanted mentions
More often than not, recruiters only need to type your name in search engines like Google to come back with a whole file of information about you. If there are search results that may harm your online brand, ask the search engines to remove them. Also, don’t limit your search to Google. Make sure to check with other search engines like Yahoo, or Bing.
Your resume/CV presents your skills, experience and suitability for the role. However, it’s just half the story. It is an edited version of you and your abilities and doesn’t reveal your personal character. Recruiters will check your social media profiles to find out how your personality will fit in with their organisation. In addition, they will verify qualifications and overall suitability.
Therefore, it’s well worth cleaning up your social proof. Having a positive online presence and brand can significantly help to improve your success in an executive job search. In contrast, hiding your social media profile may damage or limit your chances.
In addition, remember that any embarrassing and offending posts can affect your professional image. So you’ll need to edit, update or delete your old posts including any photos. The next step is to make your profile and posts on every social media platform you use, appropriate and professional. That way employers will see a cohesive and professional image of you.
More About Online Branding and Executive Job Search
About the guest author:
Molly Evans is the administrator for Stellar Select, a financial services recruitment agency. The company provides the best match of mortgage and financial service candidates with employers who need their talent. Ever since its formation in 2005, candidates have been relying on Stellar Select as a trusted agency. Meanwhile, clients value them as partners and a valuable source of professional expertise.