In today’s job market, any serious job seeker is leaning hard on the Internet to find a position that’s right for them. But online activity is a two-way street: businesses are increasingly using online searches, social media profiles and personal portfolio sites to gauge the reputation and potential of job candidates. A lot can be gleaned from evaluating how job applicants present themselves online and choose to communicate their expertise to the world. Obviously, earning an MBA online is evidence of online aptitude and academic commitment, but you can engage in additional activities to demonstrate your ability to craft and sell your personal brand.
Most employers consider communication skills to be one of the most important assets an employee can bring to the table. Developing a personal brand is a key part of the job search, and the process forces you to demonstrate strong communication skills. The first key is remembering that it’s not just your skill sets that matter, it’s also how you present them.
In the first two parts of this series on “The Job Search,” we’ve covered how to become a more efficient job seeker and how to improve communication in traditional ways. In this third and final part, we’ll offer some guidance for improving communication through new virtual platforms that are being examined each time you apply for a job.
Establishing yourself on social media
Social media isn’t just another way to keep up with your friends. It’s also a way to network professionally, demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as a leader in your field. Businesses like to see how you represent yourself on social media, including how you engage and facilitate discussions, interact with other professionals and disseminate information. All of that is easily observed through platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, among others.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no benefit to you as a job seeker. Social networking can make it easier to make connections at potential places of employment or to find job openings. You can even interact directly with hiring managers and other potential employers and demonstrate your communication skills ahead of your application or interview.
Creating virtual application materials
Depending on your profession, you have some options when it comes to being creative. Portfolio sites are a common approach to sharing examples of your work online, and they can also be linked to and from your social media and other forms of communication, making it easy to share yourself online.
Video resumes are another way some professionals are trying to differentiate themselves. A video resume is exactly that—you presenting your resume in a video format. And it carries several benefits. First off, hiring managers are able to see you, your body language and your ability to communicate verbally. And research has shown that video is an effective marketing tool when it comes to selling yourself to others—and isn’t that what the job search is all about?
Showing all sides of your persona
The most important caveat to presenting yourself via social media is remembering that employees can see everything—yes, everything. Pictures, personal interactions, political views—all of these are liable to be consumed by potential employers, and they can all hurt your chances at a job. Carefully monitor how you present yourself and be aware that an any time, your future boss may be watching.
The ability to communicate is key to your profession in several ways. It’s not just a matter of working well with your boss—you also need to be able to work well with co-workers and navigate the inevitable office politics that rise to the surface. Your online brand is a great opportunity to present a more comprehensive picture of your ability to communicate and work well with others. Employers will appreciate this transparency and online fluency, and it could open more doors in your career pursuits.
About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.