These 3 Personal Branding Mistakes Could Be Standing Between You and Your Dream Job

By Kage Spatz

You already have a personal brand. Yes, you! That statement is not only for business owners and entrepreneurs: Anyone looking for a job now or in the future can also benefit from learning the latest trends in the hiring process. If you love your job but want to position yourself for a promotion, it's also important for you to understand how personal branding plays a role in your future.

Like it not, you are a walking business. You could be only one late-night tweet, Instagram post or Facebook update away from landing your dream job (or having no job at all). But what if you are nowhere to be found online?

Mistake No. 1: You Can't Be Found Online

Most of us will admit we are surprised, maybe even impressed by someone who has no online presence. They might claim it’s the best way for you to stay safe in your current job or future career. But this is no longer the case.

In fact, your lack of participation on social media channels could be hurting your chances of getting hired. According to CareerBuilder, 57 percent of employers surveyed said they are less likely to interview a candidate they can't find online. This is not always the case, but if you are looking to increase your odds of getting an interview over the next candidate, getting yourself online is a good place to start. When hiring for any position at any of my companies, I prefer to find an active online presence for an applicant rather than nothing at all.

Even more detrimental to your chances of obtaining the job you applied for could be an employer thinking they found you online, but in reality, they found someone else. Those with a common name should especially factor this into their strategy.

Mistake No. 2: You've Been Involved in Social Media Mayhem

Have you publicly talked badly about your current or former employer online? Even if you were treated poorly, there is no way for your next boss to know that for sure. Keep your work drama private: this goes for talking about co-workers as well. Your next company doesn’t want someone to potentially talk badly about their brand when or if you stop working for them.

Thirty percent of employers have taken this into account, according to the CareerBuilder study referenced above. Discriminatory comments made publicly had also been a deciding factor for 38 percent of those employers surveyed, while 23 percent noticed social media profiles linking applicants to criminal behavior. If this is you, then it might be a good idea to consider building your social media profiles from scratch. 

Mistake No. 3: Your Personal Brand Isn't Aligned

If you are looking for a job in a veterinarian’s office, do you think it would help if you displayed your love for animals somewhere at some point? Let’s say you posted an average of 10 times per day on social media but only talked about cars and never mentioned animals. Even if that lack of congruency didn’t sway a recruiter either way, what about the one time it does factor into their decision? Wouldn’t you want to be prepared to have an edge over other candidates? If you never talk about something you say you’re passionate about, is it possible the employer might not believe it's really your true passion? 

Aligning your personal brand with the job you desire can certainly help your chances in some instances. Another way you could be missing out on opportunities is in your network (or lack thereof). For example, let's say a position is opening up at the local medical center and there are a lot of applicants. The hiring professional in charge decides to narrow down the list of potential hires by looking at your social media profiles (i.e., Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter). What if they notice five candidates are connected with those who currently work at their office? Do you think having those connections might help increase their chances over someone who doesn’t have any connections? According to a Linkedin study, two of the top three sources for most companies looking for new hires are employee referrals (48 percent) and social professional networks (40 percent).

Bonus Mistake: Your Resume Is Disorganized 

So many people spend so little time on their resume, yet wonder why they aren't getting any interviews. There is a simple way to improve the organization and professionalism of your resume by using a popular social media platform. Creating a Linkedin profile is essentially filling out an organized online resume you can easily print out for use in the real world. You can also use your profile to apply for jobs through the Linkedin platform. Many third-party job boards also support the ability to submit your resume in seconds using your Linkedin profile.

Invest as much time as it takes to create a resume that best represents who you are, where you are coming from and what you have to offer. Just remember, this is not a replacement for having a website for your personal brand: It's simply another tool at your disposal.

Your New Advantage: Personal Brand Awareness

Keep in mind that each company has its own policies when researching candidates. We didn’t touch on every potential mistake. Use this article as a reminder that social media is beginning to play a much larger role in the hiring process. By being aware of these common mistakes, you can potentially give yourself an edge over the other candidates.

Interact with your passion, share your authentic self with the world and open your network to new possibilities.

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Kage Spatz is an experienced strategist & serial entrepreneur. You can connect with Kage on your favorite social network by visiting KageSpatz.com

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