How to Build Your Brand Online With Social Media

In their webinar, “Personal Branding and Social Media for the Job Search,” Jen and Maren share strategies for academics to successfully build their online brands and market themselves as professionals. Their webinar re-frames the idea of networking and shows the importance of having an online presence you’re proud of. Here are some key considerations when starting to build your online presence:

Re-think Networking

Although most view the internet as a place to make leisurely social connections, Jen and Maren are here to remind us that the “Internet is a network,” but not just for fun. It is also the professional hub of the 21st century. The internet opens us up to opportunities to build a professional community, and employers are hip to the game already. According to CareerBuilder, “70% of employers are snooping candidates’ social media platforms as a screening measure prior hiring”.

Hold Up, Wait . . .

Pausing before you post is a wonderful starting point. I know this advice seems like common sense for academics. Although PhDs do spend more time developing their professional brands, few expand their image beyond academia. This limited view can hurt their online business persona because it makes them appear under-qualified for most jobs. To help, Jen and Maren walk PhDs through two major strategies: (1) using LinkedIn to build a non-academic and academic profile, or (2) using LinkedIn to showcase some core skills, such as time management, leadership and collaboration.

Plan for Success

Learning to wield social media effectively is a skill that requires strategy. According to Jen and Maren, you need to consider what you “want to tell people when you see them” – or rather when they see you online. Thinking about your footprint begins with some simple questions that have a big impact on your hireability. For instance, you might want to consider what narrative you want to tell. Or, who your target audience is? Jen and Maren encourage you to answer these questions honestly. These answers will help you measure your current online image with the one you want it to be.

What Does Your Online Footprint Say About You?

Speaking of footprints, what does yours say about you? Jen and Maren suggest searching yourself online to see what pops up. Because employers can hire and fire you based on how responsibly you use social media, you want to make sure that your photos and content showcase you in the best light. Jen emphasizes the importance of relevant photos. She states that her goal was to “appear open and friendly . . . and smart.” In her professional photos, she sports spunky red-rimmed glasses, a casual denim jean jacket, and a dark pink, short-sleeved dress shirt with black dress pants. While her look is more casual and relaxed, yours may be business professional. Either image works. The goal is to wear appropriate attire that matches the field you want to step into.

Tune in with Jen and Maren to hear more about developing your online brand.

Beyond the Professoriate Community Members attend events like this for free each month and access replays free for two weeks. Ready to launch your next great career? Join the Online Career Hub for PhDs.

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