How Social Networking Can Help You Get a Job

Social networking, while a huge component of life, is still a new environment in the grand scheme of things. The growth potential of each of these communities is incredible and that accounts for the hundreds of millions of dollars dumped into each of these social networking companies by investors year after year. However there is great debate over how social networking truly can be capitalized on other than as a community of like minded people.

One area though that social networking has quickly caught on is the area of recruiting. It did not take people, the social networking sites, employers or human resources departments long to realize that the same tools that job seekers had been using for years could be used by them to get information about prospective employees. In fact there has been no shortage of news stories on this phenomenon. What we want to take a look at today is how you as a job seeker can use this social networking to help you position yourself correctly so that prospective employers can find out what they need to about you. In doing this we will also look at how you can irrevocable hurt yourself in the search for a job through social networking.

Finally, we will delve into the jobs that are helped and hurt the most by this glut of information available through the different networks. Now, I want to go on record that I in no way believe that a person should have to censor themselves in any way. However, what we are looking at here is how you can position yourself for employers on the internet therefore we will be talking about things people should and shouldn’t do. If you as an individual wish to go forward with whatever, realize the greatest asset of social networking and the internet is that you can be who you want and present yourself the way you wish. Just realize with that right is the responsibilities and consequences that come with the decisions that each individual makes. With that in mind let us dig deeper into how you can start to improve your chances of getting that job you applied for with the help of your social networking network.

When I first started posting on the internet the free information this blog provides about personal branding and social networking I was questioned constantly about how it can affect and assist in finding and keeping a job but I wanted to research the topic more before I wrote an article on it. I wanted to know what employers were looking at online when scouting individual employees. This will help us when it comes to looking at how to position your network to be as effective as possible in helping you with your job search. The first place I went to was an article from Linda Roeder written on June 16th of this year.

This article states without a shadow of a doubt that companies are in a large way using social networking and the percentages are extremely high. Her numbers come from a poll released by Jumpstart Media, a company started by Digital Brand Expressions which is a search marketing consulting firm that helps Fortune 1000 companies with their digital branding. In the poll released June 9th of this year 75% of the hiring managers surveyed utilized LinkedIn, they stated that they used Facebook and 26% of them responded that they use Twitter. When further asked why, the managers responded that they were looking for the “professionalism of the person beyond the resume”.

This means to me that employers are depending on social networking to get a closer look at the person behind the professional protection often provided by a resume and cover letter. This could mean looking at the groups you belong to, the blogs you have RSS feeding into your profiles, how you are at presenting yourself through written, verbal or visual communication depending on how much multimedia is integrated into your site and simply put your pictures that are publicly available. This means that you truly want to paint a picture of professionalism, especially on LinkedIn, but also on Facebook and now on Twitter as well.

The question I get asked all the time is “How do I do this?” There are countless ways of doing this, but none of them are “easy” and all of them take diligence and work on your part to maintain. The first is to take a look at everything you have posted in each of your accounts and make sure that they are helpful to you professionally. This might mean taking some pictures down and storing them on your hard drive and backing them up in a different way. This could mean rewriting the bio that you have on your social networking accounts. It might mean changing the articles that you share with people through the mediums such as Twitter and of course it could mean not necessarily always giving your true emotions on your updates. All of these items help paint a picture of you as the individual and no matter what is in the cover letter or the resume, the information that is found in an account that is seen as “totally personal” will always be given more weight in an individual’s mind as “the true you”.

The next thing that a person will want to do after they have cleansed the accounts they have is frequently update the social networking and keep it active. The reason for this is not just so a company sees that you are a “dedicated and hard working” individual, but this also helps increase the relevancy of the sights that you have altered, and that will help you in the search engines. If this sounds daunting, there are companies and individuals that help people put together plans that can accomplish these goals and in some cases even help them maintain the accounts they have put together. This is what I do for a living when I am not writing and updating my blogs and accounts and many of my mentors and teachers are also involved in this area as well. Now hopefully you are not exhausted yet because this just the first steps in how you can use social networking to help you in a job search, and this is the most reactionary of all. In most cases this is preemptive work that you have done to make sure you are ready.

The next thing we have to look for in this area is how you can make what is called an irrevocably or almost unchangeable decision that can hurt you when it comes to your social networks. These areas are touched on in an article by Linda Roeder entitled “Your Website Can Affect Other Parts of Your Life” in this article she gives a list of items that can affect and in that list is losing your job and trouble with the law or media. In both of these cases you can do something that could make getting that job harder or in some cases impossible. The first one and this is more a problem with the current youth, is the posting of pictures of people at parties in compromising positions or “having too much fun”.

In some cases this is not done by the person themselves but by a third party that was taking pictures with a cell phone or digital camera and then posts the pictures to show how great a party or get together it is. Now with the tagging feature in Facebook and other great features that allow people to point out exactly who you are, you can end up with a not so great searchable image on Google or attached to your account when some searches for you when you apply for that next position. Another thing that can happen is that people post their information online and update it frequently enough creating plenty of relevance with the name then someone goes to Google your name and the first link that comes up is your Facebook or LinkedIn account. That is fine because you have managed that well and you are showing the right picture, but the next link down is a public records link of a problem you had with the law.  SMM Panel

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