Managing your digital and social brand
Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular route for the best and brightest young people looking to gain hireable qualifications, real-life work experience, avoid student debt and ‘earn while they learn’. Today’s employers receive apprenticeship applications from a variety of qualified candidates, from school leavers to the GCSE qualified, to college grads and to those already in the workforce. So how can a candidate stand out from the crowd (and in a good way)?
Employers are looking for mature, responsible individuals who can be trained to become the next generation of leaders at their organisation. So it’s important to think about how a Google search or a perusal of social media will portray you as an apprenticeship candidate. Does your online profile paint you as a publicity liability or health & safety risk?
Here are a few tips for thinking about your digital and social brand before you apply for an apprenticeship:
- Have you Googled yourself? Take a few minutes to see what results come back when someone searches your name (and your name combined with past employers, schools or home town). If the first page of results comes back with anything unsavoury or embarrassing, consider who you could contact to have that post taken down. Regardless, be ready to field questions on any online results connected with your name in case it comes up during your employer interview.
- Don’t forget about images: do a Google image search to see what kind of photos come up when you search your name.
- Facebook tips: Clean up your Facebook page by removing photos that you would be embarrassed for a potential employer to see. Also, change your profile settings to be as private as possible to avoid employers from seeing your entire profile and all your images. If one of your friends has posted an embarrassing photo, just untag yourself and hide it from your profile.
- Consider deleting any potentially controversial comments from your Twitter account. Banter may not seem like banter to professional outsiders.
- LinkedIn is a great tool to ‘sell yourself’ professionally. Make sure you photo makings you look professional, and get someone to proof read your profile to spot any grammar issues and opportunities to better explain your experience.
- Digital and social media channels aren’t just potential land mines from an employer perspective. They also give applicants a chance to showcase their interest in their field. Do you have a blog about your interest in motorsports or have you written an article for an online publication about engineering? Share a link to these in your CV and bring them up during your interview. Employers are looking for signs that you’re passionate about their industry.
LinkedIn is a great tool to ‘sell yourself’ professionally. Make sure you photo makings you look professional, and get someone to proof read your profile to spot any grammar issues and opportunities to better explain your experience.
In today’s environment, employers will assume you have an online presence. Many HR departments take the time to do online searches as part of their standard background check. There’s no need to panic or leave social media entirely, but just be wise and proactive when it comes to representing yourself.