“There’s so many resources available to us job seekers that’s it’s overwhelming. How do I get a grip on the appropriate tools for promoting and positioning my personal brand? Where should I spend my time?”
To avoid freezing up when it comes to optimizing your digital brand presence, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used social platforms: what works, what doesn’t work, and where will you get the most bang for your virtual buck?
The professional standard for career-based networking, LinkedIn is one tool I believe everyone should be using, regardless of your industry, skill level or expertise.
With millions of members, LinkedIn boasts one of the most diverse and hearty networks of potential connections at your fingertips. Its interface has improved a lot; it’s now easy to use, fairly customizable, and an overall great tool for promoting your brand in the digital space. It is also flexible and non-formal enough that you won’t be pigeon-holing yourself into one type of job or limiting your reach to only a specific customer profile. Plus, many recruiters are using LinkedIn as their sole recruiting and resume finding tool these days, and you don’t want to be left out.
Pros: Widely-adapted, fairly customizable; one of the most robust networking databases out there; companies actively use it for recruiting and finding candidates.
Cons: You need to be good with your words to really make your profile stand out.
Good For: Job seekers and career changers; freelancers who want to build visibility and establish expertise.
Facebook remains a hub for individuals who want to use it for its core purpose: a “social” network. But brands are also making it their go-to space to engage with potential and existing customers and employees, and providing valuable information and resources.
While there are a number of career-based networks and tools that have a Facebook presence (CareerBuilder, Brazen Careerist, etc.), it still teeters on that edge of being a bit too informal to really be considered a strong tool for job seekers. Good for networking? Perhaps. Better for sharing photos of last weekend’s camping trip? Bingo.
Pros: Wide-reach, easy to connect with people; most brands now have a Facebook presence; good source of up-to-the-minute events and industry trends.
Cons: Still very informal; not widely accepted as a professional tool.
Good For: Job seekers who want to follow companies of interest & stay relevant on industry trends; young careerists who want to demonstrate their passion for their chosen career field.
In addition to building your network, Twitter can be a great tool for building your online reputation as a subject matter expert. If you have an industry-related blog, Twitter is a great space to share and promote your posts with like-minded followers, share content from thought leaders in your field, and engage in conversation with potential peers.
Most companies have a Twitter presence of some sort, and will often advertise job openings to loyal followers. But be wary, what you put out there, stays out there, so be smart about the mix of professional and pleasure.
Pros: Wide-reach, easy to connect and communicate with otherwise unreachable people and companies; good vehicle for building your reputation and thought leadership; easy access to company-specific job postings.
Cons: Fairly informal as a medium; often a barrage of crap to sift through before you find something of value; easy to be perceived as overly spammy.
Good For: Job seekers promoting industry relevant content and personal blogs.
This relative newbie to the networking world now boasts more pins than existing LinkedIn groups! On Pinterest, people see a visual of a cool tool or resource, and repin it to their entire network. And for job seekers, it can be a great tool again for thought leadership and placing yourself at the forefront of industry trends, with the ability repin interesting articles, images, products and services, and follow the boards of companies and brands that interest you.
Careerists should follow their favorite career blogs, thought leaders, and companies of interest, as well as build a unique presence of their own that showcases your interests, areas of knowledge, and personal projects.
Pros: Wide-reach; uses a combination of visual imagery and verbal descriptions; user-friendly interface that promotes sharing and connecting; little commitment and upkeep required, good for creating a visual face for a brand; easy to follow companies of interest and share industry-relevant content.
Cons: Companies don’t actively recruit off Pinterest; people are often more interested in the pictures being pinned than the person pinning them; lack of communication for real relationship building.
Good For: Creative-based freelancers/artistic professionals who want to share their portfolio; job seekers who follow companies of interest; anyone looking to connect with other thought leaders and share relevant industry content.
There are so many networks and resources out there to help you create and shape your digital brand presence. While you can analyze the pros and cons of each, the effectiveness of such tools for your personal or business gain really comes down to understanding who your target audience is, where they “hang out”, and what the best means of communication are to reach and engage with them.
Try each… and see which works best for you!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!