This is a guest post by Murray Newlands.

In the past, there were very few places you could go to verify what a company said. If Coke said it was refreshing, a lot of people believed it to be true. We weren’t sheep, but there were much fewer information outlets (even though newspapers personal brandingwere more diversified) and those outlets that did exist were dominated by people who could afford to run ads.

The Internet made it so that anybody with a keyboard and a web browser could buy a domain (or get one for free) and start their own website. If they then spend a little time building links to it from other websites, they could show up high on Google and reach out to a targetable audience who wants to hear what they have to say.

Personal branding and social media

Social media transformed Internet marketing by making it even more accessible and by giving advertisers a new avenue to reach potential customers. Perhaps more importantly, at least in terms of how it affects most people’s lives, social media gives us the ability to market ourselves and control our personal branding.

Facebook profile

In 2006, seventy-seven percent of employers look up potential employees on the Internet. Out of that 77%, 35% eliminated candidates based on their search engine results. This was before Facebook was popular so the information employers had on you was limited, but a lot of them still made decisions about who to hire based on what they found online.

A lot of recent college grads fear that their Facebook profiles will be seen by potential employers. Fearing employers finding your social media profiles is the wrong outlook, and I’ll tell you why:

Use social media to promote your personal brand

Most employers will look at your social media profiles after they read your cover letter and resume but before they call you in for an interview. Your resume already has started to shape your personal brand. What school did you go to and what was your major? Do you have a .aol email address? Does your email address have your name in it?

A resume is about whether or not you’re qualified for a job, and what you can bring to a company. You’re selling your experiences and your skills a lot more than you’re selling yourself. Resumes aren’t always very good indicators of things like personality, how well someone performs under pressure, and whether or not they’re a hard and intelligent worker. To a much greater extent than a resume, Facebook profiles and other social media give employers an explicit presentation of who you are as a person.

By building social media profiles to present a good image to prospective employers, you can leverage social media profiles as an opportunity to forge a good personal brand and thus be more hireable before you even walk in the door for your interview.

This is a guest post by Murray Newlands. Murray is the CEO and Founder of Influence People, a San Francisco-based online marketing and blogger outreach consulting firm. Jim Kukral and Murray Newlands recently wrote What is Personal Branding? How to Create a Memorable & Powerful Brand that Sells YOU! to help people learn how to market themselves.


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