Social Media for Jobs Series Part 1: Build Your Personal Brand

October 18, 2012


Welcome to the first installment of our five part Social Media for Jobs Series. Obama and Romney aren’t the only ones that want to see people get back to work. We all do, right? At least we can all agree on something. I believe collectively we have a lot to offer each other to get America back to work. Whether it’s making an introduction, keeping others in mind for job openings we come across or sharing professional advice. I’ve decided to share what I know best, social media skillz. Come back each Thursday through November 8th to learn new ways you can use social media to land your next job. Now let’s get started.

I’ve spoken in front of HR executives about social media and work closely with HR departments for clients. It’s true. HR managers, hiring managers, and stakeholders are Googling you, looking you up on Twitter and researching your credentials on LinkedIn. And even after you’ve been hired you can bet they are still watching because companies want employees who are aligned with their values. In today’s world your personal life and your company’s brand have overlapped. And that’s why our first order of business is you as a brand. If you can’t get past that initial Google search you’ll never make it to the interview.

What is YOUR Brand?

You have a digital footprint. Every time you leave a comment on your favorite online publication, add an item to your Amazon Wishlist, or post an update to an unprotected social network you have left a trail. That’s not you? Just like I tell the brands I work with, it doesn’t matter whether or not you participate in social media, you can’t control what shows up from others about you online.

Whether it’s a newspaper article, public record, DUI, or a mention of you by someone else, your name is at risk of being published. Understanding that you are a “brand” will help you take control of your career. With a few SEO and social marketing tactics in your back pocket you can own your personal brand so that when potential employers Google you, they will see what you want to put forward.

Do your public social media profiles reflect your best self? Google yourself, after all your name is your brand. Use all possible names (i.e. maiden name) and use quotations for an exact search e.g. “Melonie Gallegos”. What comes up? Is it what you’d like to present to the world? Are you findable at all?

Own It

Let’s admit “Jennifer Smith” is going to be hard to differentiate when it comes to owning a common name online. Good luck if your name is Elvis. Some lucky people get to grab their domain name or Twitter handle namesake. But it’s not possible for most of people because names are common. If this is the case, you’ll need an online variation of you. It can be a great way to differentiate yourself from the rest. Just be sure it contains your name, it’s memorable and people can spell it. As I write this is available for purchase.

Why You Need to Improve Your Online Appeal

Why do you think you are a good candidate for this position? This is one interview question that most people find challenging to answer. By building your personal brand, you are one step ahead of the game because you already know your worth. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to constantly improve your online appeal:

  • To show off your expertise.
  • Set yourself apart.
  • Build credibility.

How to Improve Your Online Appeal

Here are the key takeaways:

Take every opportunity to be your authentic self online. This means using your real name in comments and profiles. It’s not helpful to your personal brand to be anonymous online. After all, you have nothing to hide because you’re awesome right?

The caveat. That brings me to DowntownRob’s number one rule, be awesome. Or none of this can help you.
Be an influencer. Leave thoughtful comments on articles and blogs that are on topic for your profession.

Give back. Create a personal website, blog about your industry.

Be consistent. While there are many facets to each of our lives we don’t want to look like we have multiple personalities.

Use a current photo. Make sure your profile photos are appropriate for each social network. And please, please stop putting photos of your kid in place of your own or using headshots so outdated that Duran Duran was still topping the charts. People want to get to know you when we search your name and a photo is your first impression.

Update your skillz. Update your LinkedIn profile with your latest work history and skill sets. Include your profession in other places like your Facebook profile or Twitter bio if it’s fitting.

SEO yourself. Optimize your profiles for your personal brand name. Buy your name domain name or some variation of it. If you want to be found for “your name” buy your domain name and link it to a personal blog, bio page or resume. Tips on getting your blog started or up to speed.

Next In This Series

Next week’s topic – Social Media for Jobs Series Part 2: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
This is a five part series and you can get notifications when the next one comes out by choosing your RSS reader or subscribing below.

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Social Media for Jobs Part 2: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile →


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  • Reply Miguel Salcido October 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Your personal brand is SO important. Not just for the now, but for down the road too. I think that another tip for developing your personal brand is to keep a record of all of your achievements, especially professional ones. Don’t be afraid to point out to people that you achieved a 400% ROI on an email marketing campaign.

    And damn, you really do own your search results!

    • Reply @Melonie October 18, 2012 at 10:21 am

      That is a good tip and one that I am especially not great at. I have always been somewhat uncomfortable with “tooting my own horn” and I hate to say it but I think it’s a common thing for women in business. Men have no problem letting everyone know how awesome they are and what they’ve achieved in the business setting. (That’s a compliment guys I admire that!).
      I will admit, my head is swelling right now because I’ve impressed you, the SEO expert Miguel, with my SERPs. Yeah!

  • Reply Jason Avant October 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Great stuff, Melonie. I was able to take my blogging, part-time social media consulting and freelance writing work and leave my “day career” as a tech recruiter behind for a fulltime social media specialist role at Life Technologies. Along with developing my personal brand, I assessed all of my social experience – writing, editing, proofreading, community building and blogger relations – and essentially rewrote my resume. Best decision I ever made, and my boss still encourages me to pursue my creative writing and blogging work. (And it turned out to be good for my company, too – my efforts at revving up our LinkedIn presence helped land Life Tech on LinkedIn’s list of 2012 100 Most InDemand employers.)

    • Reply @Melonie October 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Congrats to your success Jason that’s amazing. I think testing social media out on yourself is the best way to learn how to do it for businesses too. When I hire look to see how successfully a person manages their personal brand in social and it’s a big indicator of the type of employee I’d want. I like how brings out my creativity and that you’ve leveraged that element of it into your actual job. Makes work that much more fun doesn’t it? Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Social Media for Jobs Series Part 2: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile | Brands With Fans Blog October 25, 2012 at 5:08 am

    […] your headline is your tagline, then your photo is your logo. It all goes back to communicating your personal brand. You’ll want an image that feels friendly and approachable. While a stuffy suit is appropriate […]

  • Reply Social Media for Jobs: How to create a killer resume | Brands With Fans Blog November 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    […] Social Media for Jobs Series Part 1: Build Your Personal Brand […]

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