Is Your “Online Brand” Helping or Hurting Your Job Search?

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“Building your online brand” can easily be dismissed as marketing jargon. But as a creative and marketing recruiter, I can attest that it’s a critical part of your job search. People either do it extremely well and use it to their professional advantage, or they unfortunately miss the mark.

While your digital persona isn’t necessarily the first consideration in an employer’s hiring process, it is considered. With all else being equal, your online images, comments, and history could mean the difference between you getting a job or not.

Here are a few do’s when it comes to optimizing your professional presence online:

  • Do showcase your creative or industry POV, portfolio, and approach through personal blogs, websites and social accounts. While the picture from your morning commute may not get you a job, social media can provide a great platform for your interests, hobbies and even worldview—all valuable adjuncts to a resume and portfolio.

  • Do consider making multiple profiles, using a different name or making accounts private if you have a robust library of personal images that you wish to share online. This doesn’t mean you can’t post anything from your personal life in a public forum. Just be sure it represents you in a way that supports your professional goals.

  • Do stay above the fray and refrain from rants and arguments, for instance, of the political variety. To state the obvious, divisive comments and back and forth detract from and diminish your professional brand. Particularly when it comes to LinkedIn—where there’s an understanding that the discourse will stay focused on business. This is a place for comments that showcase your industry knowledge and expertise.

  • Do Google yourself. Questionable photos from your college days? Or maybe last week? (No judgment.) Do a quick sweep and see what’s out there. There could be a whole other person that looks just like you online but doesn’t really represent you or the person you aspire to be at work.

  • Do put in the time on LinkedIn. By that I mean keep your experience, skills and endorsements current. Actively build your connections. Share and like content (within reason—don’t be on LI all day). The more accurate and up-to-date your profile, the easier people can find you and the stronger your professional brand will be.