There is no doubt that we are living in the age where our addiction of choice is being connected to the world around us via e-mail, iPhones, blackberries and the Internet 24/7 (or at least throughout our waking hours). We Facebook, Twitter, hi5, MySpace, blog and update our LinkedIn accounts continuously. We are voyeurs of the lives of our peers through their social media output. This is fascinating, all-consuming and simply part of our lives.
However, what role do social media take on when you are looking for a job? There are a few things to consider!
Sure, social media can be a fantastic way to network and help you connect with hiring managers in the firms you would like to join. Proactive job seekers connect with key decision makers instead of skimming through job ads and applying to them. Social media allows you to tap into the “hidden market” and be considered for roles that are not even advertised yet. However, there is more. Your online presence tells a story about who you are, adding to the basic facts lined out in your resume. Keeping in mind that hiring managers put more and more value on how a prospective employee would fit within the overall corporate culture, the picture you paint of yourself through your online accounts becomes a key to understanding who you are.
Here is some advice:
– Facebook. You must have already heard this one before, but here it is again. Think twice about putting a picture of yourself at a fun but rowdy drinking party. Even though your profile might only be open to your friends, you never know who can tag whom in a photo and who these people’s connections are. Your profile picture is important, too, since it is usually visible to anyone online. You might be taken less seriously by a hiring manager if they haven’t even met you yet and see a photo of yourself dancing on a table in a bar.
– LinkedIn. This is probably the most important social medium for business networking out there. Once again, put thought into the profile picture you display. I see too many profiles which have pictures an individual cut out of a group photo. You see the person’s face and often an arm or an ear of someone who used to be in the photo. It looks strange and unprofessional. Also, make sure you build your list of connections. If a potential employer looks at your profile and sees 8 connections, they might assume you create online profiles without any real purpose and do not follow through with what you start. Get recommendations and make use of the application that allows you to include books you are reading. This can tell a lot about you to a potential employer.
– Twitter. If you decide to use this tool to build your online presence, do keep in mind that a potential employer might be interested in scrolling down the list of your tweets. Think of the effect your language or the content of your post might have on him or her.
And, of course, the main advantage to you – the job seeker using online media – is the ability to check out your interviewer’s profile. What better idea to showcase your research skills and think of comments to use to break the ice at the beginning of an interview. If you comment on your interviewer’s prior job experience or the book they are reading, you will definitely make an impression.
Good luck in your search and feel free to tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn or blog about this post!