What employers want to see in your personal brand

It’s no surprise that many Canadians are between jobs right now. While unemployment had been historically low – and still declining – before the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic lockdown has changed all that. Of course, the restrictions are slowly starting to ease, and more and more of us are staring to look for work or at least plan for our next career move.

One of the assets that can give you an edge on the job market is a polished, professional personal brand. A recent survey of over 500 human resources professionals revealed the personal branding activities that they value the most in candidates during the hiring process.

Almost all employers (98%) do background research about candidates online. It is important to have a tailored, professional online presence.

If a potential employer Googles you or looks you up on social media, what would they find? A personal website? A Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile, an Instagram page? What kind of content are you creating or sharing?

This is something you should be thinking about if you’re looking for a job, because potential employers are going to look for you online, and you want to make sure that they like what they see. If you already have an online presence, great. If you don’t, consider creating one.

Here is a guide to creating your online presence.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most HR professionals surveyed (72 per cent) say that a resume is very important when evaluating an applicant.

Your resume is usually the first impression an employer gets of you. It is the marketing document that sells your candidacy for a specific role. If they like what they see, they will contact you for an interview to find out more. Here’s how to write a winning resume for your next job search.

An even greater proportion of employers (95 per cent) say that they consider a candidate’s “elevator pitch” to be important.

Your elevator pitch is a short couple of sentences that describe your career background, highlights, and goals in a conversational manner. It’s not a long list of all your accomplishments and achievements – that can sound overly boastful. It’s just enough for you to summarize your expertise and career path should someone ask.

Today’s applicants should make sure their elevator pitch works as well for remote hiring processes as it would in person. Here is how to craft one.

Most employers (90 per cent) say they factor a candidate’s social media accounts into their hiring decisions, and nearly 80 per cent have rejected a candidate based on their social media content.

Similar to your online presence, your social media activity can make or break your chances of being hired. Your social posts can be used to confirm or disprove the claims of your resume. Does your work timeline match up? Your education?

Employers can also scrutinize your communication style, spelling and grammar to see if you really are as skilled a communicator as you claim to be in your resume.

Another recent survey of employers revealed the top 10 types of posts that will cause them to reject a candidate.

Bonus: Create a personal website or online portfolio. Nearly half of HR professionals (43 per cent) use Google to research job applicants, and 80 per cent of these say that a personal website is important when evaluating a job candidate.

If you’ve got some time on your hands, consider creating your own website to highlight your work. And remember, don’t use your time off to render yourself unemployable in the future.

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