Using social media to get ahead

Christopher Gooding
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Employers are looking you up, are you?

SPRINGHILL – Finding a job isn’t as easy as filling out an application or dropping off a resume anymore, and students with the Nova Scotia Community College’s Cumberland Campus were given insight how to create their own social-media savvy brand that works in their favour.

Traci Johnstone, President and CEO of the personal branding website, spoke with Nova Scotia Community College students to give them a start on using social media to their advantage when the time comes to look for a job.

eOLIO President and CEO Tracie Johnstone worked with students recently, outlining the pros and cons of social media and how it will not only impact their jobs prospects in the future, but how they can start making changes now to create a fetching online profile that will assist them job hunting in the future instead of hampering them, and it’s advice applicable today for anyone already gainfully employed.

“I think you should be creating a brand for your future career, not the career you have today,” Johnstone said.

More employers are turning to the Internet to explore who the candidates are, Johnstone said, which means the first step for anyone is to do a little digging on themselves.

“Tip number one is people need to spend time investigating themselves. There’s still the unknown, but that online reputation is crucial. If you you’re not using privacy settings, anyone can look at your profile and we need to clean that up.”

Johnstone doesn’t recommend job hunters use their privacy setting on their social media to go off the radar, but she does recommend using the settings to control what images and messages can go out beyond their social network. Pictures of excessive partying and good natured mischief, or messages bashing work, employees and employers are probably not want anyone wants going out to cyberspace to create a first-impression of who they are, but it is happening and thinking ahead is crucial to creating an appealing image for potential employers.

“Think before you send,” Johnstone said. 

Finally, Johnstone promotes creating personal content. Awards received, pictures of a job well done or successes should be heralded, not subjected to being a footnote in a resume. By creating positive content, job seekers are creating a positive brand employers can find if and when they start searching online for more on you.

“Content is king,” Johnstone said. “Create content and make sure the content you share is not just images.”

Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn are being used more and more by potential employers to learn about candidates, Johnstone said. The simple fact is, if employers are using it, job seekers should be taking control of their social image – their brand – and put forward the best product they can that works in their favour.

Johnstone is the President and CEO of the personal branding website, a free online portfolio builder that spreads across social networks and can be used as a social resume.

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Recent comments

  • Traci Johnstone
    March 27, 2014 - 11:38

    Thank you for taking the time to read the article and to comment, Noodle. Let me help you understand the eOLIO brand a little better... eOLIO derives from the word e-portfolio, which is in fact, exactly what it is. Also, in the effort to help clarify things; eOLIO is an incorporated company, with a Board of Directors, in which case the appropriate titles you noted, have been assumed correctly. Thank you for your support of our efforts, it's an important message... we appreciate you taking the time to take notice.

    • noodle
      March 27, 2014 - 20:31

      Thank you for responding to my comments, and again, I appreciate your efforts to enlighten the Egeneration. I do apologize for being such a nitpicker. Please don't be offended by my observations - they were only intended as constructive criticism. Obviously, NSCC has confidence in your credentials and they would certainly have at the very least checked NS Joint Stocks. Thanks again for your efforts to enlighten the Egeneration, I'm confident they'll benefit from your message.

  • noodle
    March 27, 2014 - 10:10

    I wholeheartedly agree with the notion of creating and maintaining a respectable personal brand online, but I've gotta wonder about Ms. Johnston's own brand, eOLIO, which literally translates to either: "a variety act or show"; or phonetically (Oleo): "relating to or containing oil". Not sure where the brand originates but a wee bit of research would've turned up these less than ideal definitions of this brand name. Also, claiming the titles "President and CEO" is ostentatious unless, as is implied, eOLIO is a large joint-stock corporation. However, having said all of this I support Ms. Johnston's efforts to teach the "Egeneration" the importance of protecting their personal brand, but just be sure to also instil the importance of honest representation.