The hiring process has been drastically changed over the last decade due to social media. Many employers are looking to social media as a pre-screening phase during the interview process. For those about to graduate college, social media management is essential to each student as an individual. After writing blogs about how businesses can most effectively manage their brand, I decided to take some time to talk about the importance of an individual establishing their own personal brand, starting with social media.

Here is the rundown of what I’ve concluded:

Just like you should think before you speak, think before you post. Posting inappropriate pictures or comments on social media can be extremely detrimental to your personal brand. The types of comments that you make on social media all play into the overall picture that people, including current and future employers, paint of you. It is important to contemplate what you post before posting it at all because in an era where screen capturing is so quick and easy, these comments can follow you forever!

If you are currently on the hunt for a job and struggling to find success, it is normal to be frustrated. However, this is not information that should be displayed for all of social media to see. If a potential employer peruses your social media and finds that other employers aren’t sealing the deal with you, they may conclude that there’s something they haven’t uncovered yet about you.

Social media can function as a personal website with several pages to uncover. It is important to remember that just because it is not on your personal page, it can often still be found on your site. For example, everything that you like on Twitter is linked to your profile under the likes tab. If there is something you read that you really enjoyed and want to share with friends, you can direct message it to them, screen capture it, or even use a new feature Twitter has implemented called “bookmarks”. This allows for you to still have access to it, but not broadcast it to everyone else. Another thing to remember is there is a tab on Facebook called “Photos of _____”; this is compiled of any photos that you are tagged in, including those that others post in their own personal albums.

Don’t delete your profile, manicure your profile. Many believe that the best way to ensure employers don’t make judgments about them is to have no social profile at all. This is not typically the case. In 2017, employers said they were 57% less likely to hire someone if they found no digital footprint of these individuals at all.

If you are pursuing a job in the communications field, your social media presence and brand is increasingly important. Having a strong and positive social media presence shows these employers in the field that you are capable of effectively communicating through one of the most influential platforms in the world. In the age of digital, reputation management and social presence are products that are sold and maintained by the biggest brands. Once you are employed, you also function as a part of your employer’s brand. If you find it difficult to establish and maintain a positive brand for yourself as an individual, they may feel that you are unable to manage someone else’s brand or be an accurate reflection of their brand as well.

One of the staples to any communication professional’s application is a portfolio of work. I personally have a website that showcases some of my best work from college and internship experience. I believe that giving those that are using my site the opportunity to view my social media shows that I am confident in my social footprint. Use your social media to brand yourself and show all that you have accomplished. Happy posting!