Business types seem to love debating the role social media plays in shaping the world of commerce today, and information about how employees utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other giants floods periodicals both online and off.
One of the greatest debates revolves around how recruiters take advantage of these sites to snag a glimpse of who they may or may not want to hire. Thus, an entire Internet behavior protocol sprung up around this phenomenon, and anyone hoping to get out in the workforce and earn a little cabbage should probably master some degree of familiarity with it when hunting and pecking for job opportunities.
Here are some basic rules for using Facebook and other social networking sites when looking for a job.
Alter privacy settings to the highest possible protection, including preventing people from typing your name in the search bar. While caching of a previously public account might prove a problem, this measure at least prevents some degree of snooping.
If your friends tend toward the raucous when posting on your wall, consider eliminating their ability to write anything on there altogether. Once again, this prevents possibly deal-breaking ephemera from slipping through, and the wall can be switched off in the privacy settings.
Facebook allows users to check tagged photos and posts their friends have made on their own personal walls before accepting them. When job-hunting, switching on this function is probably a pretty good idea.
Don’t Complain About Work:
For the brave souls with a public social media presence, writing less-than-positive comments about your current jobs might turn off potential employers. After all, they wouldn’t want you venting about them to everyone if they choose to hire you! Keep it professional.
Untag Potentially Controversial Photos:
No HR director wants to hit the web and see your wiener — or, in some cases, even drinking a beer — so keep the photo stream something you’d be OK with showing your ultra-sensitive grandma.
Honestly, you should be doing this anyway, not just when you’re trying to score a hot new career. Particularly sarcastic types might want to tone things down a little because of the notorious and tragic lack of a font denoting snark … unless they’re gunning for an Internet writing job, in which case that quality is actually an asset.
Consider a Separate Professional Account:
Show off those networking and development skills (if you have them) by setting up a public Facebook account dedicated solely to your career. Share relevant research, write comments and messages to other professionals, and maybe even discover a job opening in the process.
Save those strong opinions about Corporate America’s soul-sucking and joyless pursuit of profits at the expense of personality for after Corporate America’s soul-sucking and joyless pursuit of profits at the expense of personality starts paying the rent. Or, maybe, re-channel that nonfiction rage and use it to write that one novel we’re all supposed to have in us instead. And stay away from harsh criticisms of politics and religion — you never know who you might offend.
Be Wary of Friend Requests:
Only accept invites from people you actually know, because the face on the other end may very well be attached to a potential employer. Unless you’re rocking a purely professional account, in which case the more is probably the merrier.
The U.S. Department of Labor, National Association of State Workforce Agencies, DirectEmployers Association, National Association of Colleges and Employers, and Facebook itself teamed up to harness social media in the interest of job seekers. It serves as an amazing depository for information regarding the current economic climate and advice about getting ahead.
So many companies these days host one or more Facebook pages to interact with consumers, fans, and fellow industry professionals alike. Give them a like (or two) and follow along to gauge whether or not their culture seems right for you, participate in discussions to show off your knowledge, and maybe even learn about open positions as they post them.
Take Out an Ad:
If you’re the bold type, creatively advertise your availability by buying and posting a clever side ad. Employers who love themselves an enterprising go-getter with pluck and chutzpah might stand up and take notice.
You never know who you might meet or what job opportunities might arise, so try and participate in groups relevant to your chosen career paths. Politely, of course.
Network, Network, Network:
Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family over Facebook if they know of any open positions at their own places of employment or elsewhere. Just make sure to do something nice for the ones who manage to score you an interview or, even better, a job.
Know Your Klout Score:
Social media-savvy companies looking for influential employees might want to take a gander at your Klout score, so consider including it on your resume if relevant to the opening. Not only does it measure influence via Facebook, but Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, and other popular social media scenes.
Set Up a Fan Page:
If relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish, anyway, otherwise you just seem like a narcissist. Bloggers might want to open up a fan page for their professional musings so they can network with others in the industry without leaving personal profiles open to scrutiny.
Change Those Profile and Cover Photos:
Even profiles on public lock-down still display profile and cover photos, so make sure to choose something a little more appropriate than scenes from that trip to Tijuana you and the boys took last summer.
More for professional and personal development than actually landing a job. Use this Facebook plugin to rate and review books relevant to your chosen career path and receive automated suggestions about what to read next. It might very well come in handy once the interview process begins.
Crime Doesn’t Pay:
You may be the biggest NORML supporter on the planet, but that still doesn’t change the legal status of weed and other drugs. Potential employers might think you too much of a risk, even if you’re a responsible, hard-working sort, if they discover a profile spotted with evidence of use. Avoiding discussions of other past (and hopefully not current) criminal behaviors should be a no-brainer rule.
Keep Passwords Private:
Some employers, when faced with private Facebook profiles, have gone so far as to ask interviewees for their login information. Don’t feel obligated to comply. You have the right to protect your privacy.
Age Isn’t an Obstacle:
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites are not the exclusive domain of the young. Older job seekers use them to show off and share their experiences (let’s see the kids beat that!) while simultaneously proving they’re not so bad at this web 2.0 stuff the business world is into these days.
Search for Events:
Browse public events in your area and see when and where the most recent job fairs, workshops, networking mixers, and other potentially fertile opportunities are happening. If you live close to your alma mater, stay in touch with their career services center if they happen to host a Facebook presence.
Post Your Resume:
Or a link to it, if attenuating a resume to fit the notes feature proves too awkward. Even individuals with a private account can benefit if friends and family reach out and show it to anyone they know who might be hiring.
Jobs get posted at this sadly oft-overlooked app, so activating it is probably a grand idea. You never know what you might find!
Turn the Tables:
If you’ve got some names, nothing says you can’t go searching and scrutinizing the profiles belonging to your possible future employers. You might dredge up some dealmakers and dealbreakers this way. Just don’t ask them for their passwords, OK?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at OnlineCollege.org!