It’s common knowledge that social media has been growing in popularity and use. As I write this post I’m also catching up on Twitter, messaging someone on Facebook, checking in at a coffee shop I sit in on Foursquare and posting a picture of my latte on Instagram. It’s become an integral part of our lives. As technology advances, so do the social media platforms.
With so many different ways to share what we’re doing with the world, it’s important to know the impact each post has on our image. I’m not talking about a popularity contest here, but I am referring to personal branding. As students, we are constantly putting ourselves out there in hopes of receiving a job or internship. How does one finally obtain that dream job? We sell ourselves. An easier way for advertising students to think about this is our own personal brand.
So, what does this have to do with social media? When a prospective employer wants to know whom they’re interviewing, they are certain to Google the applicant’s name. The first thing they should be seeing is “your name” on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t hurt to have a personal website as well. If that’s too much for you to design, About.me is a great site to build a personal page that points everyone to everything you do on the web. Put your resume online! If they’re only going to look at it for ten seconds on their desk, you might be doubling the time they look by putting it as the number one search result on Google. Students should be considering this as a part of the interview process. We should be selling ourselves on these platforms as well as in our interviews. Before we all get nervous and immediately go and delete any post or picture that might be remotely incriminating, know that employers do want to see someone that is fun. They’re going to be working with you so they want to know that you’re not going to bog them down and that they might actually want to become friends with you. However, everything should be done in moderation. This is a fine line that might mean changing your online behavior. Showing that you can balance a professional life as well as a social life is very important. Just remember: always be you. It’s okay to tweet articles that aren’t only from Adage, show your audience what else interests you. Your employer might be obsessed with The Big Bang Theory and cat videos too. This also shows that you are up to date with current media.
Consistency is always important when it comes to branding. Consider this when creating your own sites, especially if you choose to create your own website. Go as far as using the same headers and fonts on your personal website, resume and cover letter. Use the same language and images if possible. No matter how well designed, advanced your Facebook and website look, if you begin drunk tweeting, your coming across as very unprofessional. Check your privacy settings on Facebook so only your ‘friends’ can see all your photos and the public only sees your Profile picture and general information about you. The truth will always come out.
What it all comes down to is the very essence of advertising- knowing your audience. Create a consistent brand that shows who you really are but find the right balance of being social (it is social media after all) and professional.
Junior at University of Minnesota
Major: Advertising and Art, emphasis in Photography