In 2014, Time magazine reported on a study of employers and social media. According to the researchers, “93 percent of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision” — more than 60 percent of the time, recruiters reject candidates based upon what these searches reveal. Some job applicants have resorted to deleting their social media presence altogether, but this can seem suspicious to employers. A much better solution is to present the image you want employers to see by creating a personal brand. In much the same manner as marketers protecting their products’ brands, you should control how you appear in online spaces.

Some “Common Sense” Tips

Common sense, unfortunately, is not very common. According to the aforementioned study, 83 percent of recruiters report finding references to illegal drug use — close behind these are sexual posts, which 70 percent of recruiters judge negatively. In other words, keep your private life private: no bedroom references, and certainly no illegal activity.

Your Personal Brand

Creating a personal brand is one of the most proactive measures job searchers can take. You should set aside time to curate your online presence and to increase your brand awareness. As Forbes magazine reports, “92 percent of children under the age of two already have a digital footprint,” so an online presence is common in today’s personal and professional networks. Since an online presence is extremely difficult to avoid altogether, it makes sense instead to curate what employers may find. Take the time to audit your social media profiles. Review all of your previous posts, and delete or make private any that present you in a negative light.

Equally important to creating a personal brand is maintaining it. To do so, you can set up Google alerts to inform you when your name appears on a website. If you have a common name, Forbes recommends using a middle initial or middle name in your alert.

Help With Your Personal Brand

An online MBA program can help professionals cultivate a strong, positive online presence. Most MBA programs stay up-to-date on technological changes that affect the business world. As such, they teach students how to create a personal brand. Further, the projects you complete for your coursework can become online samples for recruiters to search. Keep in mind that your work follows you throughout your life, so giving your best on every assignment is essential. Finally, adding an MBA to your resume and LinkedIn profile increases the value of your brand.

The rise of social media means that our successes and failures are all on display. Creating a personal brand is one way to control what the world does and does not see.

Learn about the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi online MBA program.