According to the findings of a report published by Megan J. Erickson, Microsoft released some research results (in January 2010, Microsoft commissioned the research, and the study was conducted by a third-party marketing company, Cross-Tab) showing that 79 per cent of the surveyed hiring managers and recruiters in the U.S. had considered social media online information about job applicants as part of the hiring process. In other words, the use of social media and the hiring process now go hand in hand. Of those who considered social media online information, 70 per cent said they have rejected candidates because of what they found.
Take it or leave it, the social web has greatly changed job search for the job seeker as well as the organizations that are doing the recruiting. Social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and recently Quora are no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends, colleagues or former University mates. A lot of companies now use social media websites to do unofficial background checks on potential employees.
They search for people information, get alerts and sometimes monitor. As convenient and valuable as the internet may be, it can also be perilous, particularly for the employed and those that are job seeking.
Readily available information on the Internet ensures that the interview starts long before the hiring manager meets the candidates on the day of the interview. Social media monitoring tools and Google offer hiring managers the ability to gain a broad picture of an individual before they meet them. Consequently, they are able to assess whether a candidate is an appropriate fit for their organization or not.
When looking for a new job, remember to utilize social media sites, especially LinkedIn. According to Jump Start Social Media, 75% of hiring managers use LinkedIn on a regular basis to research candidates before making an offer, compared to 48% using Facebook, and 26% using Twitter. As a job seeker or a professional, your online social presence is important and should be kept clean. To ensure that your personal brand is professional, monitor what you post on social marketing sites. Whether or not you are job hunting, you should always be aware that your public profile is easily accessible. So, be sure to maintain a professional personal brand.
Social media sites can enhance a candidate’s position or be detrimental. Be sure to always Google your name: What online presence do you have?
For your LinkedIn, do you have a complete profile that is public and do you have a number of references from previous employers or managers? Not only that, have you written references for others? Don’t just brand your LinkedIn profile; brand your Twitter account, Facebook page, and any other sites you’re on. It’s important that they all convey the same message clearly and concisely. It’s also vital that you interconnect them all so that when on any one site it leads to another site or page with even more information about you thus reinforcing your brand and positioning you as an expert.
On LinkedIn, you can also research the person that will be interviewing you. Do they have a personal blog or are on Twitter? That insight provides great conversation starters at the interview. If your LinkedIn profile is set to show your activity, then, the interviewer will see that you have viewed their profile. On Twitter, do you have a presence and do you send out quality tweets and a balance of followers to following?
To be honest, nowadays, if you aren’t on the web, it’s almost near impossible to secure a job. However, sometimes people forget or get carried away and use Social Media unwisely to vent their frustrations. See One Wrong Move, Your Facebook or Twitter Page Could Cost You Your Job. However, everything you post, your comments, every tweets, likes etc., on the internet are 100% public and searchable even when you think they are hidden from people that are not your friends? Ok, what does that mean for you? Well, what that means is that you have to think twice before posting anything onto the Internet.
It is imperative that you always carefully consider just what you are sharing with the world, and what you should keep to yourself. What you post on the Internet today may not come back to haunt you tomorrow, but it definitely will surely do someday because everything on the web is archive-able, which also means it is going to be searchable. The comments you make today will pop up in searches years from now. If you think about it, nothing in the last decade has revolutionized how people search for information than the advent of social networking media and the powerful search engine, Google. Search engines of the future are going to become even more powerful in the near future. Be it through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube or LinkedIn. For more information, see Jeff Bullas’s interesting and pertinent post on the 30 Things You Should Not Share on Social Media. There are ways to prevent shooting yourself in the social media foot and, if you are smart, the best thing to do is to work the system.
There are a few obvious things not to have on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, YouTube or other Social Media websites including inappropriate photos or conversations. Poor grammar, spelling, poor writing skills, controversy, political or racial slur, use of profanity, and poor people skills can also turn off a potential employer.
One of the big no-no’s is to never, ever post anything negative about a former boss, co-worker, employer. It creates the wrong image. No matter how true, valid, anything is, you just should not go there. One thing to realize is that companies are not just looking for reasons to disqualify you. They are also looking for reasons why you might be the perfect candidate for the job. On LinkedIn, companies look to see prospective employees’ connections. If used properly, social media tools are effective marketing tools and they help to showcase your skills and achievements.
Social Media and Job Search
Experts at Jump Start Social Media offer these tips for using social media in the job-hunting process:
Become familiar with the popular social media sites so you can participate in important dialogues, including opportunities to network for jobs.
Start with one service, get comfortable with it, and branch out from there. The easiest, safest choice is LinkedIn because it has always been 100% business-focused.
Share links to interesting news stories combined with a sentence of insight, and join groups (your alma mater, former employers, industry associations, etc.) in order to participate in online discussions with the other members.
Ask people in your network to introduce you to the people that they know. It’s these dynamic group interactions that help shape perceptions of you and your business acumen.
Make sure to finish your social media profiles and keep them updated.
If you are “tweeting” on Twitter, share links to stories, reports, interviews, etc. to which you add your insights.
Don’t overlook Facebook’s value as a way of keeping in touch and staying top of mind with the business connections you’ve made during your career.
Bring it home: If you don’t already have a personal brand, start developing one. And by all means, keep your social media sites in line with your personal branding efforts. If you don’t want certain people to know something, don’t post it for the whole world to see. Use good judgment and common sense at the minimum when posting information on your social media pages.
There are a few things you can do to maintain and manage your presence online:
Create a Blog
Blogging is a great way to boost your job search and increase your visibility. Not only are most employers impressed when you have a blog, but you become easier to find online and build up your professional network in the process.
You can create a blog for free on WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr. This will allow you to write about what you are passionate about and will let people view you as a subject matter expert (SME). A blog will allow you to showcase your skills, demonstrate your talent, vision, and credentials. In addition, brand your blog and include links to your blog on all of your other social networking sites, and on your resume or CV.
Important steps in starting a blog:
Choose a blogging software
Decide on a topic
Create a blogging plan
Think about how you’ll display your content
Don’t waste time, start writing!
Be visible on Google
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of developing the visibility of a website in search engines.
How to start using SEO:
Link and get linked
Create relevant and interesting content
Be very active
Brand yourself as an expert in your field on various professional and social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as on other professional blogs by leaving comments and offering guest posts.
Get a Web Resume
InnovateCV or Easy-CV will allow you to create a free CV. This is a great way to get noticed online. Typically these are a one-page electronic online resume that is visually appealing and combines video and other pertinent links to your resume. These resumes are keyword searchable, so if someone is conducting an online search for a candidate with your credentials in your area of work, then you are going to place high on the search results.
Do a vanity search in Google
Search using your name in Google. What do you find? Is there anything unprofessional? Are there any search results for other individuals who share your name that could potentially harm your job search? You can go to Vizibility or MyWebCareer to discover, evaluate and monitor your brand. On both sites, you can find out more about your information on the Internet. Comb through your social networking profiles and take down anything that would be inappropriate for a potential employer to see, including photos, notes, wall posts, videos or offensive language. Don’t rely on privacy settings to protect your content; you have to clean it up yourself.
Engage in Professional Bodies and Social Networking Communities
It is often not just what you know but who you know that lands you the job. During and before your job search, join professional and social networking communities in order to meet new people, build mutually beneficial relationships and strengthen connections with contacts. Networking is everything. For more information, see Forget Your CV, Instead, Network and Demonstrate Your Skills
Create an Online Portfolio
In today’s online world of personal brands, you need to stand out by having your own website to showcase your work. What are you most interested in and how can you best communicate this to the whole world. No matter what your field is, a portfolio can help you land a job if it is done correctly. Find out if your personal domain name is for sale and buy it. Begin building a portfolio on a site that you’re comfortable using, make sure that you include a page all about you, display your excellent portfolio pieces, and also have a contact me page.
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.