Developing Your Social Profile & Brand

Personal is how friends and family see you while the professional is how a prospective employer sees you. You want to make sure they see you in a good light and want to bring you on as an employee. You don’t want a potential employer to see your personal profiles and end up seeing pictures of you partying or posts that could really look bad on you.

When looking at building your professional branding, you want to make sure that potential employers can see any achievements, degrees, awards, etc that you have. You also want to make sure that everything is up-to-date and related to the work you’re currently doing. In addition, you want to try to keep most of your personal information private. If you have social media profiles, make sure you aren’t sharing or posting anything that could be seen as distasteful or incriminating. In terms of your achievements and other information, always post everything that happens. Even the smallest achievement or accomplishment could be the difference between getting the job and being passed over.

Action Item: Why wait – create your Candidate Profile Now


The more of your private life you put into the public domain, the smaller your private life becomes

What do you see?
The first thing you want to do is see how you look online. The way to do this is to actually Google your name and just look and see what pops up. Remember, when looking at this information, look at it from the point of view of a potential employer. If you look at all your information and you see that there are some major issues, then you need to fix them. A good way to look at it is to think, if you were the potential employer, whether or not you’d be comfortable hiring you or whether or not you’d be proud to have you on the team. Again, you want to represent yourself in a positive light. Another thing you can do is set up an account on the business social media website called LinkedIn. This will let you put any achievements, awards, and experience you have. Since most employers are going to search any potential employee, having a LinkedIn come up in the results can really help your case!

Another thing to keep in mind is that social websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, will pop up when the potential employer Googles your name. This means they could possibly see everything you share and post. With that being the case, you don’t want to share or post anything that could be seen as bad or negative. Having posts like this will hurt your chances and your social brand won’t be seen as positive.

With that being said, you can still have personal social media accounts. The biggest thing you have to be sure of is to make sure that everything is only available to be seen by those you want to see it. For example, make it so your pictures, posts, and all other information is set to private and can only be viewed by people on your friends list. This will help you keep your information and personal life private. Make sure you lock up your profile tight so there aren’t any stragglers that are able to slip through without you wanting or knowing.

Now that you know the differences between social brand, social profile, professional brand, and professional profile and how to set them all up to either reflect you positively or keep people you don’t want seeing personal information out, you’ll want to start building up the professional aspect. The first step should already be done as it’s making sure your information is only seen by those you want to see it. The next thing to do is make sure you are using a picture that is professional and not goofy or risky on all of your profiles. This is especially true for your LinkedIn profile since this one is going to be the one that is all about your professional life. Using the same picture is going to make it be one of the first ones to pop up when your name is searched. This is much better than having a risky picture or a picture where you are completely drunk popping up. You want to keep it tasteful!

The next thing you want to do is start to really fill in the information on the LinkedIn account. You want to make sure you include all your accomplishments and important information. In short, make sure that your profile matches up with your resume so there aren’t any discrepancies. Keep in mind, even if your information is short, it’s better than not having anything out there. Also, don’t put in a bunch of false filler on your profile just to seem more professional or like you have more achievements than you actually do. The biggest reason for this is because LinkedIn is pretty much the online version of your resume. You’ll want to have all important information on there so potential employers can see everything in one place. Any discrepancies that come up can come back to bite you later on. Another thing you could do is ask old coworkers or bosses to give you a recommendation right on the website. Since the potential employer can see these, it will greatly help your chances. It could also give them a better idea of your work ethic and how you perform under pressure.

Besides that, there are a few other things you can do. Those are listed and talked about more next.

  • Start a professional blog. Having a blog that outlines your professional life can really give the potential employer more insight to your accomplishments and hardships. Just make sure everything you write is professional and, while it’s ok to express frustration, don’t use any language that is distasteful or unprofessional.
  • Try to create more awareness. You can do this by posting on other people’s blogs or networking with other people in the industry you work in. Make sure it’s all professional based and you are presenting yourself in the right light.
  • Try getting your name out there. By getting your name more well-known in your industry, potential employers are going to want to hire you more than someone they don’t really know or haven’t really heard of.

Finally, try volunteering for stuff in your industry and good causes. Not only will this look great for you, but you’ll also get more real-world experience!  Organizations like United WayBig Brothers Big Sisters of East TennesseeKnoxville Habitat for Humanity and many others.

The biggest thing to remember is that building up your professional brand takes a lot of time and effort. You don’t want to build it then just never go back to it. This is especially true when you are getting ongoing accomplishments and experience. Potential employers don’t want to look you up and see that you’ve pretty much just gone quiet and dormant. Showing that you are currently still working toward your goal will show them that you’re serious about your industry and your professional advancement! Continue improving your brand and get the job you’ve always dreamed of!

For more strategic, consider our series on “How to Find a Job in Knoxville” here.

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