personal branding;

Manage Your Social Media

This blog, in a slightly different format, was originally posted on LocalWork.com.

CC image courtesy Sean MacEntee via Flickr.com

CC image courtesy Sean MacEntee via Flickr.com

According to a 2013 CareerBuilder.com survey, 39% of employers screen a job applicant’s social media sites. Of those, another 43% found something on Facebook, Twitter, etc., to cause them to not hire a candidate. Both of these figures are increases from the year before, and it is expected that the numbers are even higher today.

We can debate whether it is right, ethical, or legal for employers to consider our social media posts, but the fact is, they are.

Job seekers must manage their social media.

First, stop digging a hole. If you have made disparaging comments about your job, boss, or colleagues, if you brag about playing hooky, or if you post about your binge drinking, drug use, or sexual conquests – stop! It turns out, our mothers, and Thumper, are right. If you have ever posted anything like these, delete them, now.

Second, set your privacy settings where they make sense. My LinkedIn and Twitter accounts are open (I want to be found), while my Facebook is restricted to Friends/Family. However, I am fully aware that all it takes is for one Facebook friend to “share” a post to their feed and all of a sudden, it is out there.

Third, assess the damage. Search for your name, including variants (James and Jim) on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Then, set up a Google Alert for your own name.

Fourth, if there is anything potentially damaging to your online reputation, then bury it. Open new social media accounts; sign on to the message boards of your professional affiliations; start a blog. Post comments and content that support the brand reputation you want, and that set you up as a subject-matter expert for your position and career. Your goal is to have enough positive things about you online that the negatives are buried to the second or third page, or lower, on a search engine. The negative stuff might still be found, but hopefully there will be enough positives to minimize its impact.

Fifth, especially if you have a somewhat common name, create a card with your social media links that you can hand to potential employers, so that you are not mistaken for the similarly-named person who spends more time at Spring Break than in school. This assumes, of course, that you cleaned up your social media sites!

I would love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

Book Review: “Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter”

The challenge of writing a book on social media is that at least some of the book becomes obsolete by the time it is published. And so is the case with Sarah-Jayne Gratton’s (@grattongirl) Follow Me!

My purpose for reading the book was to find tips on how to maximize my Twitter experience without spending all my time on Twitter. Follow Me! was written for those who extensively use Twitter for their professional marketing experiences.

The practical section of the book, Part Two, includes chapters on:

– Defining your brand,

– Creating a great profile

– Building your Twitter followers without falling prey to spam, bots, and multi-level marketers.

The chapters I found most helpful described:

– The four-types of Tweets (Share, Inform, Thank, Engage, or SITE)

– Creating a “Twittertorial” Calendar (how to curate and pre-schedule tweets for maximum impact)

– Thinking of Twitter as your own personal broadcast show (what to schedule, when to schedule, and repeating the schedule).

The second-half of the book is where it starts to show its age. Chapters are devoted to:

– Twitter Branding Showcase Stories, nine Twitter feeds that (as of 2012) author Gratton found particularly descriptive;

– Twitter Toolkit, descriptions of particularly helpful Twitter tools. Some, however, no longer exist (bye-bye, TweetDeck).

If your interest in Twitter is non, or low, or only for interacting with friends and family, then this book probably will not appeal to you.

For those who care about their personal or professional brand, Twitter is a key component of the social media strategy, and Follow Me! has a lot of good advice.

Gratton, Sarah-Jayne. Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter. Indianapolis: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012. Print.

Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter

Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter

Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

3 Reasons to use a Professional Email Address

Fact: It remains a very competitive environment for job seekers.

While it varies by occupation-type, companies receive, on average, 250 applications for each open position. Hiring Decision Makers use whatever they can to whittle that number down to a manageable amount.

Therefore, job seekers must give themselves every possible advantage, starting with having a professional email address.

By “professional,” I mean, YourName:

The first thing potential employers see about you is your email address. Make it professional.

The first thing potential employers see about you is your email address. Make it professional.

FirstNameLastName@
FirstName.LastName@

If you have a somewhat common name, you may need to explore a few different email accounts before you can find one where you can use Your Name. Or, you may need to add a Middle Initial or Middle Name, or append a Number at the end (I suggest a two-digit number in the Teens. DO NOT use a four-digit number that resembles a date. It is often assumed this is your Year of Birth, and you have just revealed your age).

There are three main reasons to use YourName@:

First, when you use a less-than-professional email address, you give the impression that you are treating your job search less-than-professionally, and the expectation is, you will treat your job less-than-professionally.

Second, when you use a less-than-professional email address, you run the risk of offending the decision maker:

NASCARRules@… (I hate NASCAR).
CuteCuddlyKittens@… (A cat gave my child rabies).
BigJohnStud@… (You’re a harassment suit waiting to happen).

Third, by using YourName@, you are taking advantage of what is known in marketing as the Effective Frequency technique. Basically, the more often a potential customer (the hiring decision maker) sees a brand (Your Name), the more likely they are to make a decision (hire, or at least, invite you for an interview).

  • When you create an online account at an employer’s web site, you are using the email address, which is YourName@.
  • When you complete the application, you are using Your Name.
  • When you attach a resume, the file name is Your Name Resume. When they open the file, the first thing they see is Your Name.
  • If you are allowed to upload a Cover Letter, that creates two more opportunities to use Your Name (the File Name, and Your Name in the letter itself).
  • When you call to follow up, you are giving Your Name.
  • When you send an email to follow up, you have Your Name in the signature block, and YourName@ as your email address.

You lose opportunity if you use an email address other than YourName@.

Don’t knock yourself out of consideration by using an email address other than YourName@.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below.

Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.