Social networking scope
has become a very important part of the job search process. However, its value varies depending
upon industry segment and the type of position the job hunter is seeking. For example, recruiters
tend to rely on social networking sites more heavily when seeking office and professional workers
than for people working in the skilled trades. Since there are no hard rules, one must evaluate
the value of social networking sites based upon their particular needs and situation.
Your "online persona"
Your "online persona"
is represented by the image you portray to people who view the profiles you post on social networking
websites. If you think about your profile in that same general context as a resume, you can see
the importance of your online persona. This is particularly important for social networking sites
such as LinkedIn which is heavily used by recruiters. Ask yourself "Is there any aspect of my online
persona that I would not like a recruiter or hiring manager to see?"
Match your profile to recruiter needs
will be searching for key words. They tend to start with somewhat broad searches and eventually
narrow them down. Think about candidate screening in this "broad" then "narrow" context and prepare
your profile accordingly. Start with broad terms (industry segment, profession, credentials, etc.)
that might help recruiters find you. Then cover the more narrow aspects of their candidate search
by referencing particular skills, knowledge areas, accomplishments and the like.
Recommendations and endorsements
networking sites allow peers and former managers to endorse you and your skills. Recommendations
and endorsements can be helpful, but it is important that they be sincere and credible. You don't
want it to appear that you have been actively seeking endorsements from family, friends and others
in order to bolster your professional reputation. Having too many endorsements or recommendations
can work against you.
Profile and resume matching
project that resumes will eventually be replaced by online profiles. For now, both are important.
This can create a problem, however; if your resume and your online profile are contradictory. If
a recruiter finds you via a social networking site and subsequently finds discrepancies when comparing
your online profile and your resume, they may immediately remove you from consideration. This doesn't
mean your online profile and resume have to be identical. You just don't want them to be so at odds
with each other that serious concerns arise.
Your profile photo
The way you present yourself
in a photo is important. Profile pictures and other media used on social networking sites form an
important part of your online persona. It is worth taking a little extra time to choose photos and
other media that portray you in the best possible light. Stay away from special effects, don’t use
group shots, keep clothing choices and color reasonable and stick with simple backgrounds. Think
about the image the potential employer is likely to want for its workforce.
Sharing social networking contact information
is becoming increasingly common for job hunters to share information about how to contact them or
view their profiles on social networking sites. If you include this kind of information on business
cards, etc. be sure that you keep your social networking profiles up-to-date and that they portray
you in a professional manner. Review what others are doing, look at their profiles, photos, postings,
etc. and learn about developing social media trends. Modify your profile and contact information
as needed and keep it current.
Social Networking Opportunities and Challenges
The importance of social networking as a key strategy in the job search process will continue to grow and evolve. The
ability to share images, documents and presentations will add complexities and new responsibilities. While the opportunities
associated with varied media options can enhance one's online presence, it is not without some risk. It will make managing
one's online persona increasingly important.
The more one knows about social networking capabilities as they relate to their job search, the more opportunities they
will have to market themselves. Job hunters are encouraged to take the time to understand the options available to them
and to utilize options that make sense for their particular situation. While social networking may not fit every job search,
its value continues to grow. Awareness of social networking opportunities can be a big help in the job search process. See
Social Networking Tips under the Tools menu for more information.