People in the YP generation are practically experts on social media “lurking.” So we’d be foolish to think that employers and professional connections aren’t doing the same thing to us.
These days, employers tend to form first impressions of job candidates not by just their resumes or initial interviews, but by their social media presence.
Whether they’re actively seeking jobs or just growing in their careers, it’s important for young professionals to link their social media profiles to their professional goals. And that doesn’t just mean “cleaning up” your social media, either. Branding yourself on social media is an active and ongoing process, not something that can happen by just deleting all your angsty tweets.
We spoke to Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez – founder of the strategic social media service Beyond Engagement – to understand the role that social media plays in personal branding for young professionals. For the past six years, Valentina has acted as a social media consultant for businesses large and small. Her role includes managing social media accounts for businesses, leading workshops, and teaching staff one-on-one.
Here’s what she had to tell us about the role of social media in a young professional’s identity and goals.
G.G.: What does social media have to do with personal branding?
V.E.: It is an extension our of brand depending on which platform we are utilizing. For example, posts on LinkedIn should be completely different from Instagram. We are judged by what we post. We have to be very mindful of that.
G.G.: What social media channels do you believe are the most important for young professionals to have?
V.E.: It depends on who your audiences is AND where they are. All professionals should be on LinkedIn and posting at least once a week about relevant industry updates; things that will educate their audiences.
G.G.: What kinds of things should young professionals be posting/not posting on social media in terms of career-related content?
V.E.: Relevant industry articles, and they should be following companies or their companies pages and providing comments or sharing their articles at least. Be careful with what you engage with (like or comment) on certain platforms because it might be visible to people who aren’t connected to you.
G.G.: Let’s say a recent college graduate is looking for a job. What should they be doing to ensure that their social media is both active and appropriate?
V.E.: I would be sharing tweets and updates on LinkedIn about trusted sources. For example: for marketers, I would share updates from MarketingProfs, Social Media Today, and Social Media Examiner, plus listening to podcasts, reading books about the industry, tweeting quotes from books, and tagging the authors in updates.
- Young professionals should be keeping their social media profiles “clean” (i.e. not offensive or unprofessional) and active.
- Young professionals should be active on LinkedIn.
- Young professionals should be updating their social media profiles with updates and shares that are relevant to the careers they want.
- Young professionals should be following companies, employers, and influencers who are related to their career interests.