Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
With the April 2020 jobs report revealing record-setting job losses and a rising unemployment rate due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that left many job seekers looking for work, a survey of U.S. employers was undertaken “to determine which personal branding activities are the most valued during the hiring process.”
The Manifest – described as an “approachable business guide” on its website – surveyed 505 employers in the U.S. to determine what they look for in a personal brand that “sets job seekers apart from other candidates by aligning their skills and experience around a personal story.” The survey conducted by Clutch found:
- Almost all employers (98%) do background research about candidates online. Candidates should have a tailored, professional online presence.
- Most HR professionals (72%) say a resume is very important when evaluating an applicant.
- Almost all employers (95%) consider an “elevator pitch” important. Applicants should make sure their elevator pitch works for remote hiring processes.
- Most employers (90%) factor a job candidate’s social media accounts into their hiring decisions, and 79% have rejected a candidate based on their social media content.
- Almost half of HR professionals (43%) use Google search to research job applicants, but 80% say a personal website is important when evaluating a job candidate.
Unlike a business or company brand, a personal brand is how job seekers market their individual experiences to employers or potential professional connections. Personal branding helps people distinguish themselves from others with similar interests, skills, or qualities. Some personal branding tips for job seekers include:
- Make your resume stands out – Now is the best time for job seekers to update their resumes to be an extension of their personal brand.
- Perfect your elevator pitch – An elevator pitch is a brief summary of your professional and personal background that should be short enough to fit into the length of an elevator ride. It is an easy way to condense the essential components of your personal brand.
- Polish your social media profiles – Job seekers should use social media to tell a story about their lives but should be careful about how much they share online. Getting too personal on social media can hurt your chances at a job.
- SEO your name – Search engine optimization (SEO) is a helpful branding exercise for many companies, and job seekers can also benefit from increased search visibility.
- Invest in a personal website – Creating a personal website may seem daunting, but it can help applicants stand out from the crowd by bringing specific elements of a resume or cover letter to life.
For the survey, 62 percent of those people interviewed described their role as a hiring manager, 50 percent described their role as a human resources generalist, 34 percent described their role as a recruiting or staffing specialist, 20 percent described their role as an executive, and 10 percent described their role as a consultant.
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