How we present ourselves has always been a crucial element to succeeding at work – and with the rise of social media, creating the right image and personal brand has never been so important. According to research by CareerBuilder, almost two thirds (60 per cent) of employers use social networking sites to screen candidates and get a more holistic view of the person they’re considering bringing into their organisation, so your online presence does affect your ability to progress professionally.
For many, that’s led to a complete separation of their professional and personal accounts on social media – we don’t want those graduation party photos to get out! However, as increasingly more companies embrace the value of learning about their employees’ interests and passions, could we actually be missing a trick? Here are a few things to consider in regard to your online presence:
As the saying goes ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Networking has always been an important part of business and career progression, whether you’re looking to land your dream job or a new commercial deal. Social media takes this to a new level, removing the limitations of traditional networking, such as geographical locations, time zones or travel expenses.
The problem is how do you connect with someone from out of the blue without any form of context? By finding common ground.
With an integrated personal and professional profile, you can connect with people based on shared hobbies, passions or interests. Not only does this help start the conversation, you may also find you develop a stronger, more successful business relationships by being able to bond over something outside of office talk. Think of it as the digital version of striking deals on the golf course.
Not to mention that personal affinity is inclusive – you can connect with professionals from all sorts of backgrounds through shared interest, regardless of industry or experience.
2) Staying in the loop
Connecting with people that share the same personal and professional interests as you means more relevant and personalised content popping up on your news feed. You can keep up to date with the latest industry innovations and advancements, identify business best practices or industry benchmarks, and learn from others’ business strategies. Equally, you might discover a new trade show dedicated to cycling or a secret preview of a brand’s latest fashion line – the more transparent you are about your passions, the better the flow of information coming your way.
Of course, you can also share content to show people your work or projects you admire. This allows you to express your knowledge beyond what’s on your CV and gives you the chance to demonstrate extra skills and strengths based on your interests. Something that your professional peers might not have seen otherwise.
3) New opportunities
Having 2.3 billion social media users (We Are Social) in the world is a bit of a double-edged sword – you have the opportunity to reach a global audience like never before, but equally, you now have to compete for visibility. Integrating your personal profile into your professional one can often be the edge you need to stand out of the crowd.
Consider, for example, a car manufacturer who has the choice between two qualified candidates with similar levels of experience for a role, but one consistently demonstrates an interest in cars on their social media channels – which one do you think they’ll pick?
By allowing potential employers a glimpse into your passions, you give them a good indication of your personality and how you’d fit culturally within the business – sounds like a perfect match!
Social media has revolutionised the way we broadcast ourselves to, and are viewed by the outside world, both from a personal and professional perspective. But rather than having a separate thinking cap for each channel, and dividing our online profiles, having one consistent brand that integrates career goals and personal passions can open many more doors. Ultimately, the more transparent you’re willing to be, the more companies and new contacts will be willing to approach you – and the more confidently you can strike out.
Javier Camara is co-founder of beBee.