7 Simple Ways to Polish Your Personal Brand Credit: Man’s face image via Shutterstock

If you're trying boost your image to land a new job, your social media accounts should come first.

Since job candidates are now being judged on their online personas, as well as on their resumes and references, they must learn to evolve their personal social media presence.

Jean Dobey, the founder and CEO of the personal publishing social platform Hibe, offers seven tips to help job hunters make their social networking appearance more attractive to potential employers:

  • Google yourself: Entering your name into a search engine can be an eye-opening experience. The information found on Google may only be a snapshot of what you're actually like, but it could be all recruiters need to cross you off their list. Portraying yourself in the best light is a must, particularly as, according to a CareerBuilder survey, 48 percent of hiring managers use Google or other search engines to research candidates. As a starting point, take the time to see what information is out there, what's missing and what needs to be removed. And don't overlook abandoned or inactive social media profiles; forgotten accounts on platforms such as MySpace or Hi5 may contain embarrassing or potentially harmful content.  
     
  • Brush up on privacy settings: Get to know the ins and outs of the privacy settings for each of your social profiles. Understanding who can see what is a vital part of controlling your social media presence, so you should stay up to date with revisions to privacy policies. These settings can change frequently and are by no means infallible, so it's important to exercise good judgment when posting on social media.
     
  • Stay active: A good profile is an active profile. By engaging on social media, you can connect with industry peers and demonstrate your expertise. Posting regularly and contributing to relevant discussions can help you gain credibility and visibility, and will go a long way to impressing potential employers. Conversely, remaining inactive, blocking your posts or staying away from social media altogether can give recruiters the impression that you might have something to hide.
     
  • Make the right connections: There's no better way to stay in the know then by connecting with the right industry players. Social media provides an excellent means of networking and staying abreast of developments in your area of expertise. Start by following the profiles of the companies where you'd like to work. Also join LinkedIn Groups related to your industry. In addition to linking you to quality contacts, these groups can help you find openings, as companies may share job opportunities in relevant groups.
     
  • Check the quality of your content: It may seem obvious, but ensuring the quality of the content you share matters enormously. A 2013 survey by Jobvite found that 93 percent of recruiters review candidates' social profiles in the hiring process, while 42 percent have reconsidered an applicant based on content from such profiles. It goes without saying that inappropriate photos and posts can be deal-breakers for potential employers, but it's worth bearing in mind that the language and grammar you use on social media can also affect your chances of getting hired.
     
  • Experiment with new platforms: While it's important to maintain active profiles on traditional social media platforms – such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – it also pays to embrace new networks. This can help job seekers increase their professional networks and expose their content and expertise to larger audiences. Your willingness to join new social networks can also send recruiters some positive signals. It shows that you learn quickly, adapt to change easily and are constantly looking to improve professionally.
     
  • Create, Share, Promote: Enriching your presence on social media with content related to your area of expertise can help attract the attention of recruiters. Creating and sharing insightful, relevant information through your social media profiles will showcase your know-how and increase your credibility. Promoting your work in LinkedIn Groups and through online communities will also clearly demonstrate your competence to potential future employers. Whether you're showcasing your content or just getting your name out there, it's important to make it easy for recruiters to find you online. Creating a personal website or using sites such as about.me can help you link all your social media profiles and improve your search engine rankings.

With more and more recruiters placing a greater emphasis on social recruiting, Dobey believes candidates must take these necessary steps to ensure they don't sell themselves short on social media.

Originally published on Business News Daily.