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Social Media and your Personal Brand

Posted by
11 Sep 2014
I spoke in my last blog about the importance of embracing LinkedIn to help you with your job search, and how social media can make a big difference in that all important result - will you get the job or not?

An often overlooked but increasingly powerful tool at your disposal as a job seeker is Twitter. Usually associated with personal updates and witty (sometimes not), 140-character sentences, this platform tends to be used for personal comment and opinion.

Twitter can provide a different level of communication for you with potentially valuable contacts - why not include it in your professional toolkit to really impress during your next job search?

What's your handle?

Unlike LinkedIn, Twitter is a more informal tool in your job search toolkit; most people don't interact with their full name, meaning not everyone can find you in an instant. Although this means you are slightly more hidden, it doesn't mean you are invisible!  If utilising for your job search, avoid using anything too controversial - it needs to be something you're not embarrassed to say to your potential employer.

Beginning with the @ symbol, this is also something that you will want to take note of for companies or individuals within your desired sector; @jamescaan, @Lord_Sugar, @Forbes, and @WSJ are all business accounts or publications that are a good starting point to build up your account.

You can increase your security settings on your account, meaning your Tweets will be hidden from public view and you have to personally accept new followers. However, this can be perceived as you hiding something and it will be harder for you to show off your industry knowledge and interest if a potential employer isn't willing to wait for you to hit the accept button.

Getting the most from other accounts

It's been reported that 8.5% of Twitter accounts are 'bots' - accounts that retweet content automatically, and 730 million accounts on the platform are actually inactive. These are important figures to keep in mind when you follow someone; take a look at their profile and ask yourself whether it seems like a genuine person, and are they publishing content that will be relevant to your job search?

Keep in mind that one of your aims through using Twitter should be to start conversations, ask questions and interact with others - so you want to be following individuals or publications that will do so. Retweeting (RT) is a great place to start; if you see an opinion, article or even a quote that takes your fancy, you can choose to RT it to your followers. The individual who originally posted it will receive a notification and know that you have been interested in what they have to say - and who knows where this relationship will go.

Find your balance

Due to the nature of Twitter, you should be aware of how to strike the right balance between sharing personal opinion and insight, but also retain your professional brand. Try to avoid swearing and controversial opinions (we all remember what happened to the Youth Police Crime Commissioner Paris Brown and her unfortunate Twitter stream), and keep in mind who your ideal target audience is.

Consider how you would want to come across in an interview; are you looking for a role at a firm, who may prefer a straighter approach to the world, or a company who will appreciate a sense of humour? This is a good question to ask yourself before pressing send!

It's not a hard sell

By all means mention your key skills and abilities, but this not the place to contact employers and shout "hire me!” Think of it as a personal brand awareness tool - somewhere you can direct people to show who you are as an individual and your softer skills, such as communication.

Whether you're a social media pro or an internet novice, Twitter is a friendly platform for you to build your professional brand and build contacts away from the pressure of the desk. Why not follow us @SellickGroup for industry news, views and opinions? You can follow us on Twitter here.
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