3 Steps to Perfecting Your Professional Brand

Students often overlook the importance of social media as professional online branding tool in the job search process. With the average person spending two hours a day across over five different social media channels, we live in a world where personal and professional online lives are becoming increasingly intertwined.

At WayUp, we’re talking to thousands of employers a day and find that 80% of employers google their applicants as part of the recruitment process. From personal experience in finance and tech recruitment, I know this to be true, but not for the reason you might think. Instead of trying to dig up dirt on candidates, employers are using technology to go beyond the resume, and to get to know candidates for their hobbies, interests and motivators.

In fact, we created our unique student profiles to help brand students professionally online, and we make sure it is the first thing an employer finds when they Google the applicant. You can think of these as your student’s digital resumes. When employers search for students on WayUp, this is what they see… much better than an unmaintained Instagram feed.

Help your students boost their online presence by telling them to follow these three steps

1. Google yourself

This step may sound self-explanatory, but it’s so simple it’s the most forgotten. It’s an important start, as there’s no way to know what’s out there until you try it yourself. Privacy settings for social accounts are always changing, and we recommend your students check at least monthly to catch any surprises.

2. Embrace social as a resume extension (and networking tool!)

We’ve all heard horror stories of an incriminating photo or tweet costing someone their job, which has given social media a bad rap. Instead of fearing social, thoughtfully curated accounts and profiles depicting student interests, skills and accomplishments should be used to show off the professional skills a resume misses.

Computer engineers can create GitHub profiles and personal websites, graphic designers can post portfolios on Tumblr, political science majors can engage with top think tanks on Twitter and the list goes on. While your students should have fun online, just be sure they don’t lose sight of putting their best foot forward. They should always take time to proofread for typos and mistakes. 

3. Complete your professional profile

A curated professional profile is one of the best ways for your students to express their personalities to employers. It’s important for students to take the 5 minutes to make sure their profiles are robust with work experience and skills clearly and specifically outline.

The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace find that employers looking to hire recent grads highly value internships and work experience in recent grad hiring, but volunteer and extracurricular experiences were the next most important factors, far above GPA and university. We’re seeing this trend at WayUp as well. Our employers list clubs, hobbies, and fun facts as crucial factors in student hiring. Professional looking headshots also drastically increase a candidate’s odds of getting hired.

I’ve seen thousands of student resumes throughout my career, and even the best ones didn’t fully portray who the candidate was beyond their academic and work experiences. Employers know that past performance does not guarantee future success, and now have the tools to take a 360 view of a candidate even before they meet them.

In our current digital age, filling out a comprehensive online profile is a crucial piece of the job search. Not only will it help students stand out in a sea of resumes, it will help employers find students before they’re even looking!

By the way, here’s how we communicate the importance of complete profiles to your WayUp student users. You’ll learn some great tips on how employers are using WayUp, and what profile features are key to helping your students get hired.

Liane Hajduch, Head of University Partnerships

Liane has over 5 years of campus recruitment management experience - she hired, trained, mentored and developed hundreds of top candidates in both technology (Venmo/PayPal) and financial services (RBC Capital Markets, Moelis & Company). At WayUp, she partners with career services professionals across the nation to work together to help students find meaningful jobs and internships.