Cleaning Your Social Media Presence: A Cheat Sheet to Get Your Personal Brand in Check

By Sarah L. Mwaitete

Did you know that 93% of employers check the social media profiles of potential employees during the interview process? Social Media – other than being a convenient, easy-going pastime that most of us fall victim to, can be a reckoning force for professional advancement. Not only can it build rapport with peers and influential people in both the local and international community, it also serves as a platform for sharing one's skills and interests as well as aiding in the development of an individual’s knowledge base.

All these – and more – are primarily achieved by the establishment of a personal brand. A personal brand is a consciously crafted profile of how you would want to be perceived by the public, curated by the incorporation of your values, interests, and goals.

Whether we know it or not, we all have a personal brand that is present offline and online through the imprints of our digital footprint. Portions of your brand that do not resonate with you and your goals should be discarded. Here, we will explore the 5 Ps of personal branding; an easy cheat sheet to get your personal brand in check:

  1. Personal: Your image, voice and presence should exude authenticity across all your active social media platforms; a consistent, recognizable profile. This can be achieved through sharing and reposting content of things that matter to you without oversharing the nitty gritty bits of your personal life, for example, if I happen to have an interest in matters cuisine, the pages I’d follow would resonate with that. I could also send in recommendations of food spots I have experienced and enjoyed, and dishes I have tried out. This displays my hobby in a way that is true to my experience but could also be relevant to other people with a similar interest within my radar of influence.
  2. Pointed: Being particular about what you stand for, what you’d like to be known for, your priorities and the things that matter most to you could show a potential employer that you are a good fit for their company culture.
  3. Purposeful: Having a vision of your career goals and desired destination helps you plot out the strategies and tactics to bring to fruition your plan of action.
  4. Prioritized: Depending on the current season of your career, your priorities may change – whether it be building a name through online engagement, or dispensing knowledge by sharing content.
  5. Profitable: While profitability can be easily tied to monetary gains, it could also take a different meaning to other people and therefore summaries as the “so what?” question. After establishing your personal brand, what are your anticipated returns on investment? To get a job, professional recognition and consultancy, or the go-to person for your niche of interest?

Now, you may be wondering what to do about the nature of the content you share – especially with a potential employer snooping in the shadows. You could consider having two separate accounts: one for your professional output and the other for personal usage. Even then you need to be careful of what you share, comment and post as it can easily cause you to lose out on opportunities.

The simplest way to gauge the professionalism of your posts and words is by thinking about whether your grandma would approve of said content. If not, you may want to hold back the post. Maintaining professionalism with all your engagements will always uphold your reputation and marketability in the professional realm.

The Placement & Career Services department can assist you to develop a personal brand that accurately represents you and moves you closer to your goals. Visit our offices on 1st Floor, Freida Brown Student Center for more information and support.

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