If you want an outstanding job – you’ll have to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is to build your personal brand on social media. But you must be willing to play the long game and not expect overnight success. 

Many people still feel uncomfortable about marketing themselves. Yet a convincing personal brand can open up unexpected opportunities when engaging with key people online. It’s like having a firm handshake and making eye contact when networking. But it’s more efficient, not least because it is free and can connect you with more people, without a lot of travelling.

However, building a personal brand online takes time and a great deal of care.

LinkedIn – Social media for professionals

At the very least, you should have a well-written and up to date LinkedIn profile. Think of this as your online CV but one that is more personal, conversational and flexible. Once you have a professional profile, you should join relevant industry groups and join in the discussions. Remember: ask polite, intelligent questions, don’t just state opinions.

You can find more tips on how to build your LinkedIn network here.

Curate a portfolio of your best work

You should consider creating an online portfolio of your work to supplement your CV. This is particularly important if you want to work in the creative industries. You can write blogs, create videos or podcasts, share presentations and post pictures of your art. You can even link to examples of work you’ve done for others (unless it’s confidential) – as well as any relevant press coverage.

You don’t need your own website, although it can help. Many creatives are instead using sites like Instagram, Tumblr and Medium for their online portfolios. This can be an efficient way of getting your work in front of corporate decisions makers. You might also see opportunities that companies won’t have advertised elsewhere.

Social media is all about engagement

Once you’ve identified the people you want to get to know, look for opportunities to engage. But remember, it’s not all about you. You should start by liking and sharing their updates – and posting appropriate comments in reply. This shows them you are interested in their industry.

You can also share positive articles by or about them or their company – making sure to tag them in your post. You can now tag people and companies on LinkedIn the way you would on Facebook or Twitter, by using the ‘@’ symbol before their name. This in turn will encourage people to share your posts and increase views on your profile (always a good thing).

Have you created a blog, podcast or video that might interest a target company or individual? If so, don’t be afraid to share the link with them and ask them to comment. You are looking for ways to start a conversation. If all goes well, you might be able to arrange a Skype call or even a face-to-face meeting.

Before you go any further, check out the advice from @thecvqueen on how not to commit career suicide on social media.