Ah social media: everyone uses it, but most have simply ignored how powerful of a tool it can be. People use it to tweet their lunch, to build farms and some use it simply to keep tabs on their ex. Yet, many don’t understand that social media is now the LARGEST and most effective job search tool in history. There are a few drawbacks though, lets take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Benefits to Using Social Media in A Job Search
1. Networking. In the business sector, what you know is as important as who you know. If you know the “right” people, doors are opened to you that may be closed to other folks. Social media lets you rub elbows with prospective employers, permitting your personality to radiate online. For many job seekers, social media offers the greatest opportunity to make a first-rate inaugural impression and eventually land the dream job you have been craving.
TIP: Don’t be an idiot online, keep your party photos on your phone and your ‘political insights’ to yourself. (You can however post cute pictures of your cats… but be reasonable)
2. Get the latest on new jobs. Networking with potential employers online puts you in a unique position. Since these prospective employers know you and may already be considering you for a job opportunity, you are the first in line when a new position is scheduled to come down the pipeline. This gives you a major competitive edge when it comes time to apply.
TIP: When you add, follow, or friend a prospective employer don’t be a ‘needy Neddy’, no one likes it when you beg for something – simply connect with them. Don’t over do it, let serendipity take place in the relationship
3. Exposure. Your connected profiles, résumés and data are instantly more accessible than ever before. Social media means having the chance to rub elbows with business big shots, but it also gives those big shots a chance to work on your behalf. People you network with might recommend you to other colleagues and employers, doubling your chances of landing a great job, without any extra effort on your part.
TIP: If you already have a job but are searching for a new one, for the love of Cheetos, be discrete. You’re probably friends with coworkers, or even your current boss. Don’t be the idiot who posts “omg I need a new job, anyone have any ideas?”, this will not excite potential employers, and will probably get you a meeting with HR.
Some results of using Linkedin to find a job:
1. Crossing lines. Social media can interlock your personal and professional lives, and often does. Employers can now see your profiles, status updates, links and ensuing commentary on friend’s posts. Because of this, checking in to your localized irrigating hole can endanger your chances with prospective employers, in the event that the employer perceives your conduct negatively.
TIP: Again, just don’t be an idiot online.
2. Preference puzzles. Your cyberspace profiles openly display your “likes”, preferred music, spiritual druthers and a wide variety of other personal insights. In spite of the fact that discriminating against someone because of these things is against the law, these publicized insights can operate against you during a job hunt, and an employer never has to admit to that.
TIP: Lets say you’re looking to get hired by Dell HQ, you’re a great engineer and you know your stuff, but on your Facebook you love everything Apple, heck your profile picture is you kissing your iPad, this might make for some awkward questions at the interview.
3. Overburden. Suddenly, social networking could begin to feel like it is chore. You might feel as if you have to second-guess everything you say or do online. You might even start to feel as though you cannot be “yourself” any longer when you are online.
TIP: Sorry to say it, but if you’re active in social media – you’re going to have to censor yourself a little bit. Campfire’s and bars are designed for hilarious stories of vandalism and public urination, not Facebook or Twitter. If you put it online, it stays online.
Some Ideas: Consider making assorted social media profiles, each with a specific purpose. For example, if you have a personal Facebook page, think about making a fan page to share with employers, relegating what they see and what they cannot. If that does not work, you might want to consider only sharing your LinkedIn profile with potential employers, and keeping your Facebook profile locked down and private.
Nevertheless, whenever you permit employers to be a part of your individual electronic network, all bets are off, even when you already have the job. At the end of the day, your online profiles act as an extension of you, make yours the most respectable it can be and you will never go wrong. And again, don’t be afraid to post pictures of your cats.