As we enter the final stretch on winter quarter, the job and intern search season is quickly approaching (if it hasn’t already started). Always on my mind when I think about this search is the idea of personal branding. Quite often people seem to have the idea that personal branding is only for those who want to pursue a career in communications or some sort of digital or internet-based job.
This is completely false.
You’d be surprised how many employers are now looking at potential employees’ social media accounts before hiring: 48 percent of recruiters and HR professionals look at your personal websites when deciding whether or not to hire you and a whopping 63 percent of recruiters check social media sites to find out more about you.
Interestingly, according to an article I read recently on Mashable, employers aren’t just looking for appropriateness on these sites – they want to find out more about you as a person, outside of work.
So how do you manage to express who you are while still remaining professional and speaking to your niche?
Here are some tips to successfully manage your personal brand on Twitter:
- Don’t protect your Tweets! You may be thinking that this seems counter-productive to protecting your brand, but really when a potential employer sees that your Tweets are protected, it looks like you have something to hide. The best advice? Keep it public and keep it appropriate.
- Make your Twitter presence ‘employer friendly’. With the previous tip in mind, it’s important to make your Twitter somewhere not only employers, but also your audience, can go to find out more about you. Put your 160-character job pitch in your bio. Include brief previous experience, interests, and the link to your blog or LinkedIn profile (somewhere your resume can be accessed!). Think of this section as your mini-resume, those who land on your page won’t spend a lot of time looking at it, so make it short, sweet and interesting.
- Utilize your background. Don’t have enough space in your bio to promote yourself? Use your Twitter background. There are countless free templates online to create personalized backgrounds. Try one!
- Don’t drunk Tweet. You would think this would be a no-brainer, but I have unfollowed countless peers because of stupid or senseless remarks made during drunken excursions. Just like texting people of your past when intoxicated is always a bad idea, when you Tweet when you’re drunk not only are you more likely to make embarrassing spelling and grammar mistakes, but you’re also more likely to Tweet about things that will turn your audience off. Even if your audience is primarily young professionals – don’t do it!
- Don’t say whatever the *&@#^ you want! I cannot stress this enough: whether you are male or female. Don’t say vulgar things in your Tweets. It’s extremely unprofessional. While many of us curse from time to time, splattering it all over Twitter? Not ok. It will just chip away at the ‘ole block we call reputation.
- Steal/repeat your Tweets. If you constantly repeat things on Twitter with no variation, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to lose followers. Also, if you use someone else’s Tweets and take away the handy “RT @xxxxx” or “via @xxxx” you’re stealing others ideas.
- Tweet relevant information. What you say on Twitter matters. Remember who your followers are, and what you want your career path to be (even if you’re just a student!) and Tweet to your market! Also, when you Tweet, make sure it’s timely information.
- Don’t link your Facebook and Twitter. Don’t do it! Chances are, a significant number of people who follow you on one site also follow you on the other, so don’t link your accounts. Even if you’re talking about similar things on both, make sure you at least change the wording.
Remember, more and more people (not just celebrities) are using Twitter to represent their reach online. By following these tips you can be well on your way to using Twitter professionally, speaking to a niche and building an online professional network. Keep in mind that not only do you NOT have to be a Congressman or President to ruin your reputation online, but you have control of the information coming from your social networks, so keep it professional!