Posts tagged #social media

Managing Your Career in the Age of Social Media: Creating a Professional Brand (Part 3)

Professional Brand - Part 3.jpg

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

When I was researching information for this series, my initial hypothesis was that the best strategy for young professionals and social media was to make your accounts private and minimize your internet presence. 

I was wrong (and I hate admitting that).

Social media is such a prevalent part of our lives today that people expect to see some sort of online presence and will use the content they see as an additional data point in their hiring decision.   In fact, they want to see what content you are putting out there, especially (but not only) if your career path has any intersection with marketing, branding, social media, digital content...you see where I am going with this. You are your own personal brand ambassador, and what better way to assess your capabilities than to see how you market yourself?

Since this is not my area of expertise, I am going to direct you to the experts in this space.  I’ve read through their recommendations and not only agree with their guidance but am also in the process of implementing their recommendations myself.

The first article is from Alison Doyle, a job search expert for The Balance Careers and one of the industry's most highly-regarded career experts.  Click here to read her take on creating a professional online presence.

Alison’s website, CareerToolBelt.com, has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Websites For Your Career and included on the Job Search Bible list of 25 Best Career Websites, Alison has been noted as a leading person to follow on Twitter by Business News Daily, Career Sherpa, FlexJobs, The Guardian, YouTern, and Mashable, and one of the top people to follow on LinkedIn by CareerContessa, JobScan, Lifehack, and The Muse

The second article is from John DiScala, or @JohnnyJet.  Click here to read his five tips on creating a professional online presence.

John has traveled over 100,000 miles a year since starting his newsletter in 1995 and has visited close to 100 countries. He writes about how to maximize your credit card points, find travel deals and cheap flights, and benefit from insightful travel tips. He has hosted a television special on the Travel Channel and was recently named one of Forbes’s Top 10 Travel Influencers for 2017. He now appears every Saturday on Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy show talking about travel and technology, and travels the world with his wife, Natalie DiScala, and their son Jack. 


Finally, here is a Q&A with tips on how to create your personal story and deploy it consistently and authentically across multiple online platforms.  Marketing expert and entrepreneur Vana Koutsomitis says that “We aren’t paying enough attention to how we market ourselves online” and that “the most common mistake I see is when someone ignores their online presence and hopes their story is told correctly.” 

Vana C. Koutsomitis is a speaker, a writer, and an entrepreneur focused on marketing, business development, and network-building. A former financial professional, she was a runner-up on BBC’s The Apprentice. She founded the financial networking company The CityStreet, flavored wine company VinobyVana, and, most recently, DatePlay, an app that combines online dating with gaming. Koutsomitis holds a BS from Cornell University and an MBA from Oxford University.

Are you already managing your professional “brand” online? If so, what tips and suggestions do you have for doing this effectively and efficiently?


Posted on July 22, 2019 and filed under Career Insights.

Managing Your Career in the Age of Social Media - Refreshing Your LinkedIn Profile (Part 2)

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As I mentioned last week, the internet and social media have transformed the way we communicate with others.  They have also created an additional lens by which other people inform themselves about who we are, and the content we post about ourselves online is of great interest to many recruiters and companies who seek a multi-dimensional view of a candidate.  Along with LinkedIn, 70% of employers are reviewing candidates’ other social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter as well as searching for you via Google, Yahoo, or Bing. This data also noted that 54% of employers found information online that caused them not to hire a candidate. I was shocked when I read that statistic, because our social media presence is in our control.


While you could shut down all of your social media accounts or change your privacy settings to the highest available in order to minimize what others see, companies are not only looking for questionable content on your social media but also how you use different platforms in a positive way.  For example, a professional, up-to-date LinkedIn profile shows that you are adept at using this platform and understand how to present yourself online in a polished manner. Along with your resume, your LinkedIn profile is another way to showcase your accomplishments to prospective recruiters as well as clients and other people in your network.

There are three main “sections” of a personal LinkedIn profile: the basic or “essential” components about you, the “about you” section that describes your career, and then additional/optional components that provides the space for additional statistics and facts about you.


Essential Components

There are a few basic components every LinkedIn profile needs, including:

  • A head shot - preferably a professional, high resolution photo

  • Your title - either your current title at work or a generic title that describes the type of work you are interested in.  For example, if you are in branding, you might label yourself a “Brand Manager”, “Brand Executive” or “Branding and Marketing Analyst” depending on your experience and interests

  • Your location - your geographic location 

  • Your contact information - a current email address

“About You” Section 

The “About” section describes your professional experience, including the option to highlight media and content you have created.

  • Company / Experience Summary - think of the experience summary as your 30-second elevator pitch.  If you had 30 seconds, or three to five sentences, to tell someone about yourself and the value you bring, what would you say? Use this section to highlight your unique talents, your passions, and the value you bring to an organization.

  • Media - one of the advantages of LinkedIn over a traditional resume is the option to upload or link media to your page.  This could include articles you have written or videos you appeared in or produced. Linking or uploading media samples gives others a better idea of your communication style and writing, speaking, or producing skills.

  • Work Experience - this section provides the space to list your work experience in chronological order, including the company and the dates you worked there. If the company has a LinkedIn profile, select their official profile when you list your employer.  For each job you have had, select the employer, dates of employment, and list your job title. Then, include a narrative summary or three to four bullet points that summarize your job scope and key accomplishments. Similar to your resume, it is important to include quantitative accomplishments on your LinkedIn profile so others can understand the impact you made.  For this section, you can start with the content from your resume and update it to fit the format and style of LinkedIn.

  • Education - List all post-secondary education, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, study abroad programs, and other adult or executive education.

  • Certifications & Licenses Section - List all up-to-date formal certifications and licenses, such as Six Sigma, CPA, or MD 

  • Volunteer Experience - In my experience, quality is better than quantity here.  For example, include volunteer experiences that used your professional skills or were more than a one-time, two-hour occurrence; things like a monthly visit to a food pantry or organizing a 5k in your neighborhood rather than visiting a nursing home for two hours three years ago.    


Optional Components

While these sections are optional, if you have noteworthy and timely information to include, it can help set you apart from others.  This includes things like publishing articles or books, securing a patent, and speaking another language conversationally or fluently.  You can also request a recommendation from people in your network. While this does not replace a formal reference, it does provide another data point for readers of your profile. Optional components of your profile include:

  • Accomplishments

  • Publications

  • Patents

  • Sources

  • Projects

  • Honors and Awards

  • Test Scores

  • Languages

  • Organizations

  • Request a Recommendation


Managing Your Career in the Age of Social Media (Part 1)

Photo by  Tim Bennett  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash

I was fortunate to go to college and start my career prior to the onslaught of social media that permeates our world today.  I remember how exciting it was when Miami students could register for a Facebook profile, because in 2008 you had to have a “.edu” email address from supported universities to join Facebook.  The platform retained that exclusivity, and thus retained its cache for me, throughout my college experience. For my four years of college, social media and my internet presence was concentrated within the quasi-protected confines of Facebook.  This was true for most of my peers, as well, though some people were starting to branch out into blogging. The thought of auditing my online presence and social media accounts before recruiting season never occurred to me because there was nothing to find, and recruiters were not looking for me on these platforms.  Instead, my personal brand started and stopped with the interactions I had in person, phone, and via email with potential employers.

Over the past decade, the advent of multiple social media platforms that enable us to share the details of who we are on the internet has transformed our daily lives. From the way we communicate with other people to how we share ideas and information, the internet has created a platform for people to share, comment, and present themselves and their ideas to the world.  With these platforms comes the opportunity to enhance ones’ professional network and growth opportunities by connecting with people online who you never would have the opportunity to connect with in person. But, social media can also work against you - along with Linked In, 70% of employers are reviewing candidates’ other social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter as well as searching for you via Google, Yahoo, or Bing. This data also noted that 54% of employers found information online that caused them not to hire a candidate.  


I was shocked to see how many people lost job opportunities due to their online presence, though I in my experience I think the internet creates a greater level of comfort where people have the freedom and courage to share content that they may not share in real life.  The internet also never forgets, and old content can be unearthed by curious companies and recruiters who want to validate a hiring decision.


What are these companies and recruiters looking for? A few things, including, but not limited to:

  • Alignment between how you’ve described yourself on your resume, your interviews, and your online presence

  • Confirmation of your qualifications for the role

  • Use of/savviness with social media for marketing and social media-related jobs

  • Inappropriate content from you or what others have posted about you, including photos and comments 


How should you respond?

The best approach is to be proactive, being as intentional about your social media presence and online brand as you are about other areas of your life.  If you have some opportunities to improve your online brand, the best place to start is by auditing your online presence to clean up any questionable content and then filtering all new content moving forward.


Audit Guidelines

  • Set your personal social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) to the highest level of privacy available.  This will minimize the number of people who can view, tag, comment, and view your information.

  • Review your network of connections on personal social media accounts to ensure you know and trust the people with whom you are connected.  Remove anyone who has not helped position you positively in the past online as well as people you do not know or do not trust 

  • Review the media you have uploaded or are tagged in and delete anything that may be perceived negatively by a potential employer.  This could include photos, videos, comments, and accounts or interests you are following.

  • Google your name to see what information comes up.  Remove any negative content that you control and request that others do the same, as needed.  

Future Guidelines

  • Review and rationalize who you add as connections to your personal social media accounts.  Do you know each person in real life? Are they trustworthy? Do they portray you positively online?

  • Exercise caution with the content you post on your accounts, including photos, comments, and likes/shares.  Avoid sharing or being tagged in content with polarizing viewpoints, personal details about your life/daily routine, and negative language as well as photos or other media that may be perceived negatively by a potential employer.  

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile.  While this is not the only source for curious employers searching for information about your, it is a common place for someone to make an initial connection with you.  Take the time to make sure your profile is an accurate representation of your qualifications, skills, and experience. I’ll be posting next week about how to refresh your LinkedIn page to accomplish this.

  • Create (optional) professional social media accounts for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that showcase your brand, especially if you are working in an industry or within a digital media function that looks for these skills. This will help round out your professional online presence beyond LinkedIn and showcase your ability to engage with a virtual audience professionally. I’ll share more about how to do this in the next few weeks.

Today, your personal brand spans many outlets, including your online presence. While it creates more work to manage each account, being mindful of your online brand may bolster your career opportunities.

Giving Up TV and Social Media - Fourteen Months Later

As I have gotten savvier with my website analytics, I learned (much to my shock) that my article about giving up television and social media has been the most popular content since I published it last January. Apparently giving up television and social media are popular topics among people all over the world. Given all the interest, I thought I would do a one-year update on this experiment.

In a world that continues to increase its television and social media consumption and to broaden this audience to people younger and younger, I found the interest in the antithesis of it both surprising and encouraging. While social media can be an effective channel to share information, and television can be a way to share stories and connect people over similar interests, I have seen that - as in many things - the danger lies in the excess. The mindless scrolling through social media and the inevitable comparisons that result from wanting what someone else spotlighted in their feed. The television on in the background for noise and companionship rather than true interest in the content. And finally, the trade offs that are made, leaving less time for family and friends, fitness, work, goals, hobbies, or projects.

After going cold turkey by giving up television and social media in late 2017 when I was preparing to return to work after maternity leave, I have continued my plan with three exceptions: one TV show (This Is Us - thanks to my mom who got me hooked) and Instagram, along with starting to use social media to share content from this site (note: because of my experiment, I am a novice and appreciate your input on this site’s social media presence). I have had to be vigilant about these parameters, as my personality works best with black and white rules rather than an “everything in moderation” approach. For me, trying to moderate social media usage it is like eating a chocolate cake out of the pan. You take a bite of cake - or a quick peek at Instagram - and tell yourself that it will only be one bite (or a minute). Thirty minutes and the equivalent of two slices later, and you are baffled at how things went downhill so fast.

Through my experiment and my observations of others via Instagram or comments from my husband (he checks social media periodically), I have become much more perceptive about the role of social media and television in our world. As people put more and more of their lives on social media and become more comfortable with filters and editing, there seem to be fewer and fewer people who hesitate to post every detail of their lives. Beyond the productivity benefits that I have experienced, it has led me to wonder - why do we feel the need to share these monotonous details of our lives with strangers? Why is there such a psychological rush when we track our likes, friends, and followers? What prompts us to binge-watch a Netflix series on a Saturday afternoon rather than enjoy being outside with our kids or drink wine with friends?

I decided to investigate. Turns out, the addiction is real, and it’s psychological. The combination of humans being social creatures - wanting to be connected to others - with our need for validation and the “carrot” of having a method to boost our egos through attention, and we become immersed in social media. Add in FOMO - the fear of missing out” - and we keep coming back for more and more.

Over the past few months, I have started to use the “screen time” feature on my iPhone to help me regulate my “moderation” approach. At first, I was in shock of the statistics every week, particularly in spite of my tight parameters on screen time. While there were a few factors that artificially increased my screen time (my baby monitor and fitness app being the biggest offenders), the data was enlightening. Seeing my weekly screen time and comparing to previous weeks held me accountable to do better. I no longer felt any justification for mindless scrolling at the expense of something else - there was always a better trade off of something else to do than watch pictures and videos that other people are posting. It did not make me feel connected to them and it did not further any of my goals; in fact, it kept me from spending time on the things that were most important to me. Trying to use it as a relaxation technique before bed did not work, but reading a book certainly did.

My experience has shown me that eliminating these activities from my life has not only increased my productivity, but that either elimination or extremely moderate usage has also continued to make me more joyful. I no longer compare my life to what I see on social media, or multitask while watching a random television show. Instead, I find myself living in the moment more, making real connections with people around me and feeling like I belong in real, physical communities rather than online, virtual ones. When I find myself feeling a sense of discontentment, it usually stems from something I saw on social media or television. While I cannot predict or control how social media and television will be part of the world in the future, my plan is to continue with my current approach and to encourage others around me to try it, too.

So - are you up for the challenge? Try giving up social media and television for 30 days, starting April 1. How much time does this free up for you? How does it change your perspective? And, what do you do with your time now?

Posted on March 25, 2019 and filed under Career Insights.

Savvy Tip: Polishing Your Online Presence

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Technology has changed our lives, in many ways for the better.  Unfortunately, technology has also blurred the lines between our work and personal lives.  We can respond to emails 24/7 and take conference calls any time via the bluetooth technology in our cars.  I was at breakfast with a colleague last week and we started talking about the difference in work/life balance between our parent's generation and ours.  Today, companies emphasize the importance of work/life balance while simultaneously providing the means, and thus the expectation, to be connected 24/7.  Thirty years ago, before the advent of laptops and smartphones, going home at night meant emails waited until the next morning and a golf outing with friends on a Saturday morning meant you physically could not join a conference call at the same time.  Expectations about responsiveness were different because of this.  Additionally, the lack of technology and social media also provided a level of anonymity.  Pictures from Saturday night might be printed, but not posted online for the world to see.  

Try as we might to achieve work/life balance, our online persona and social media accounts are ignorant to this phenomenon.  Whether you are looking for a job right now or gainfully employed, at some point your current or future employer will search the internet to find out who you really are outside of the interview process.  What they find, good or bad, will impact your career.  If you use any social media or are active online, it's a great time to polish your online presence to reflect a professional image.

Step 1: Take an inventory.  Write down every account, application, and method you engage online.  Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tinder, commenting on articles, blogging, etc.  Look through the content on each account from the perspective of your boss or a professional you know.  Then look through the content as if it was published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  Delete everything that gives you anxiety from this exercise.  

Step 2: Set your privacy settings as high as possible on personal accounts.  An easy way to stay out of trouble with social media is to separate your personal and professional accounts.  If you have an account for personal reasons, like Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram, your network should only include personal friends whom you trust.  Blogs should either be written with the intent that everyone you work with might read it or set up as "invite only" for readers.  If you set your account up to be private, colleagues will not be able to view your profile or add you to their network (nor do you want them to).

Step 3: Update your professional accounts.  If you use LinkedIn or write a public blog, use these to your advantage!  LinkedIn is a great networking tool as well as a place to highlight your education, experience, and accomplishments, so keep your account up-to-date and aligned with your resume.  I also enjoy reading blogs of people I am coaching or interviewing  to see how they articulate themselves via the written word or through photography.  I've seen many impressive blogs about a variety of topics; cooking adventures of a college student and spotlights about the unique areas of a small college town.

Once you've polished up your online persona, make sure to monitor your activity and that of your friends to maintain your professional persona.

Check your social media accounts daily.  While you might not be posting anything unprofessional, you never know what your friends are posting on your account.  Whether it's a picture from Saturday night that they tag you in or a comment on your Instagram, monitor your accounts and delete anything added by someone else that doesn't represent you well.  

Don't log in to social media from your work computer.  Kind of an obvious statement, but I've seen enough people logging in to personal social media accounts from a work computer to add this warning.  It looks bad if someone sees you on Facebook during the day and you really do not want a record of  personal browsing on your work computer.  Use a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer.

Remember...the internet never forgets, even if you do.  If you wouldn't want it on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, don't post it, text it, like it, or tweet it.  Before you put anything out on the internet, even if you are just "liking" a picture, imagine that the action was featured on the Wall Street Journal.  Would you still proceed?

Posted on November 28, 2015 and filed under Career Insights.