First impressions are a big deal – personally and professionally. In fact, it’s said that it takes recruiters just 6-13 seconds to judge your resume . But long before anyone picks up your CV, you’re already painting a picture of yourself in everything you say and do and how you act towards other people. Social media now plays a big part in this, especially if you’re looking for a new job – with 70% of recruiters saying that they look at social media profiles to
check that they’re not a d*ck see if the candidate will be a good fit for the team (or the individual, if they’re applying for the role of a PA). This all builds into your personal brand (which is basically your reputation) and all comes down to how you put yourself across and how others perceive you.
Regardless of where you are, you represent the company (or person) you work for – whether it’s at a networking event, or the deep, dark corners of a comments section. Even though people have disclaimers on their profiles “these are my opinions and not the opinions of my employer’ – it means nada if or when the sh*t hits the fan. This is especially true when it comes to PAs – because you not only represent the company you work for, you also represent the person you’re assisting.
When you present yourself well on social media, it shows that you understand ‘time and place’ and also the value of privacy. It also shows your understanding (or lack of understanding) of technology – for example, if you didn’t know that your profiles weren’t private, then – from that first impression – you wouldn’t be as trusted to handle confidential information, even if you had a perfect track record over the years.
When used well, social media is a great platform for showcasing your personality, your interests and what makes you great. It shows how you’ll make the perfect addition to their team and whether you have a personality that will click with who you’ll be working with or assisting.
Here are some simple ways you can put your best foot forward and make the right professional impression:
In that 6 – 13 seconds it takes for an employer to get a first impression, what do they learn about you? This is why it’s so important keep your profiles (yep, plural, not just LinkedIn) up to date.
Shake off that headshot from 10 years ago, update your job title to the current one and spend some time rewriting your intro. Don’t be shy! Add in those skills you’ve mastered recently. Think of it this way – you could either update them regularly and get an interview, or get an interview with what’s there already and have to awkwardly explain that you’re actually totally different from what they read. Like catfishing, but for professionals.
I know, I know, I get it. The thought of bigging ourselves up in any way is enough to make most of us want to pack up, move to an excluded island and become best mates with a volleyball called Wilson (especially when you’re British). But think of it this way – you’re not afraid to talk about your successes in an interview, right? Anyone who’s following you, or stumbles across your profiles could be a potential employer (or linked to a potential employer), and even if they don’t have a role going just now, they might remember you for a future opportunity. Whether it’s an award you won, a cool project you worked on, or something you did for charity, think about how you can wow someone in that 6-13 first impression window.
If there’s a company you want to work for, the whole ‘standoffish and aloof’ strategy doesn’t work. Head along to the events they’re hosting (or find out which events they’re attending), comment on their social content, connect with the people who work there – you name it. You might feel like you’re being a bit of a keen-bean, but trust me, it will work in your favour.
80% of jobs are gained by referral and when you have people on your profiles (who aren’t you) saying how awesome you are, it gives a potential employer peace of mind. The best way to do this? Testimonials. Get in touch and ask your current and former colleagues (read: work mates) if you can do a testimonial swap – you write one for them, they write one for you.
Even if it doesn’t mean that you get anything in return, when you promote others – whether it’s someone you’ve worked with, or a project you admire – you show that you’re happy to shine the spotlight on other people, which for an employer, is a great sign of someone with leadership and teamwork skills. As a plus, the people you promote will likely promote you back, because people are nice.
Again, personal brand is all about reputation and what makes you their next best hire. My biggest piece of advice? Don’t try to be something different or obsess over what you think people want to see or hear – people can sniff out bullsh*t in seconds and the world’s a whole lot smaller than you think (people talk!). When you build your personal brand around who you really are, you’re more likely to find a role that’s perfect for you.
Looking for a new role or some advice on how to do that? Get in touch.