By Audree López
If you’re like me, you’re on social networking sites for a good part of your day. Whether you’re snapping your friends, checking your Instagram likes, or attempting to adult on LinkedIn, social media has influenced what we do, how we shop, and even how we get jobs.
In school, I was told that I needed to be careful about what I posted on social media because, “Once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever.” True, surveys suggest that over 90 percent of employers look up prospective candidates, but there’s more to it than just looking for hidden spring break pictures. Companies are interested in learning about you as a person. Résumés and cover letters can pretty much all look the same, but social media is a great way to actually learn about someone. According to U.S. News, almost 50 percent of hiring managers said that reviewing a candidate’s social media accounts provided a good sense of whether the candidate would fit well within the company. In today’s job market, it’s about so much more than having the rudimentary skills and experience on paper—you also have to have a desirable brand. They want people who can mesh with the company and appropriately represent it, both in person and online.
Follow these easy steps to building your own desirable online brand and you’ll be #winning at social media.
Build your online persona
Back in the day (Okay, the early days of Facebook), people said they wouldn’t want employers to find them on the Internet. I had friends who changed their names or even deleted their profiles when applying for jobs. But now, things have changed. I find it weird when I can’t find an applicant online. I want to see who they are, what they’re interested in, and if they will fit into the company. The key is to make sure you’ve branded yourself appropriately. Some tips:
- Your profile picture should always be you. Avoid large group pictures, awkward mirror selfies, or those horrible cropped party pictures where there are random arms around you. Have a friend take a classy headshot and use that universally across your profiles.
- Your Instagram and Twitter bios should say something about you and your personal brand—with a link to your portfolio or blog.
- Post content that represents your personal brand. Show your personality, interests, your unique take on the world and your corner of the industry. I like to see that applicants have a life outside of work, but I also want to make sure they can represent the brand on their social media.
Choose Public v. Private?
Overall, it’s a totally personal decision. But if you have a large following, a fairly creative profile, or if you post relevant content to your industry, I suggest that you keep it public. Almost everyone keeps their Facebook profiles private, and that’s fine—but as far as Instagram and Twitter go, give yourself a chance to show off your originality. And if you have a blog or a side hustle, you definitely want to keep that profile public so you can share it with as many people as possible.
For the record, you should never actually use those hashtags. But you should be actively engaging on your profile. Follow the companies you are applying to work for and stay up-to-date on what they’re doing (as well as what their competitors are up to). It’s important to be knowledgeable about the brands you want to work with. Plus you’ll get major bonus points if you’re re-tweeting or sharing their content! My suggestion is to be active on each social media platform at least one to two times a week. And relax, because it doesn’t matter how many followers you have or how many likes you get.
Audree Kate López is a fashion/celebrity stylist, editor and influencer based in New York City. She has worked for notable brands and publications such as Glamour, Redbook, O, the Oprah Magazine, StyleCaster, Marc Jacobs, Alice + Olivia, J.Crew and Club Monaco, and now oversees her styling brand Audree Kate Studios , blog Simply Audree Kate and her online student course and community, Fashion Fundamentals. Audree graduated with journalism and marketing degrees from Arizona State University and helped ASU launch their fashion merchandising program in 2015. She loves thrift shopping, discovering new restaurants and helping aspiring creatives launch their careers. Make sure to follow Audree on Instagram!