In a competitive hiring climate, standing out from the crowd matters. Maybe you’ve proven yourself to be a mover and shaker in an emerging field. Or perhaps you have a professional innovation history that will impress.
Certainly, you should mention your unique background in your application materials and interview. But equally important is ensuring that you communicate your originality in your personal brand.
What exactly is a “personal brand” anyway?
According to Search Engine Journal, a personal brand conveys your unique value proposition and your objective in job-hunting.
“Essentially, it is how you project your brand and its values to the world and ensure that your target audience knows who you are, what you stand for, and why it’s worth choosing you over your competitors,” writes Adam Heitzman.
What’s more, recruiters are considering how you convey yourself online in their job searches. In a recent poll, 70 percent of HR employees said they considered candidates’ online presence before making hiring decisions.
So, it’s clear that establishing a personal brand online is essential, but how can you know how your personal brand is being communicated on the Internet if you don’t keep track of it?
In this article, we’ll talk about why monitoring your personal brand online is so important and the tools you should use to keep yours on track.
BrandYourself is one of the best places to get started with auditing your virtual presence.
After you type in your name, the site will describe your reputation score and then offer suggestions for improving negatives that may arise. For instance, the website provides ideas for cleaning up your social media and making sure search results are more relevant.
The tool also ensures that search engines like Google are actually collecting information about you and not about someone with your exact name or a similar name.
If you don’t control your name online, you might discover that other people might take over your social networks or domain names. NameChk lets you search through 30 domains and 90 social media accounts to make sure that cybersquatters haven’t taken over how you’re represented online.
If you discover that social networks and domain names are still free, you can register and purchase them, even if you don’t want to develop them right away or ever.
One of the easiest ways of keeping track of your personal brand online is through Google Alerts.
The first step is setting Alerts for your name, nickname, company name, social media handles, and other relevant mentions.
You likely want to set alerts that notify you immediately so you can regain control of any negative mentions.
A similar platform for determining how you’re talked about online is called Social Mention.
Like Google Alerts, you can set alerts for your name or social media handle, but this tool will scroll through social media posts and user-generated content to see how you’re being discussed.
If someone has the same name as you do, or if someone is speaking poorly about you, it’s better to know sooner rather than later.
Improving Your Online Presence
What happens if you’re not happy with your personal brand online?
Here are a few tips for improving the way you’re perceived virtually:
Clean up your social media.
- Delete any profiles that you’re no longer using or maintaining.
- Consider making personal profiles private so hiring managers won’t come across them when searching for you.
- Take down any controversial posts, videos, or photos that might paint you in an unprofessional light. Otherwise, if these posts aren’t on professional sites or social media platforms, you should make them private.
- Remove content that presents any of your past employers negatively. This includes any posts that vent about previous employers or share information that should have been kept confidential.
Take control of your presence online.
“If you want to showcase your personality and expertise, you can still do so with a professional website or with public social media profiles that have a clear purpose (e.g., showcasing your photography skills, sharing your written work, talking about a cause you support),” suggests Nisha Kumar Kulkarni for Idealist.
Some popular platforms for creating a website for yourself include WordPress and SquareSpace.
You can also guide hiring managers and recruiters toward the profiles you want them to see by connecting all of your profiles in one place. For instance, About.me lets you write a bio about yourself and connect your social media platform using a single link. You could even consider adding this link to your application materials, so you know exactly what hiring professionals will be reading about you.
How to Monitor Your Personal Brand
Conveying a unique skill set is an essential aspect of landing a job. What’s more, you can be nearly sure that hiring managers will check out your personal brand online before making hiring decisions.
Forbes contributor Jayant Chaudhary talks about the four elements of personal branding that are key in landing a new role; these include:
• A clear focus.
That’s why it’s so important to streamline monitoring your virtual footprint.
Unhappy with how you’re coming across online?
Read our guide on “Personal Branding Done Right” to put your best foot forward on the Internet.