Sunday, June 12, 2011

Social Media- Blessing/Curse, Use it Wisely!

Social Media – Blessing and Curse, Use it wisely
Effective social media networking is, in my opinion, the absolute best way to get yourself the job you want. I personally found my two most rewarding jobs (including my current position) by tapping into my social media networks and having conversations with targeted individuals who I felt would be able to get me where I wanted to be.  In fact, I would be so bold as to say I believe the odds of simply finding a job on your or careerbuilder type site, applying to it and then getting hired just from this activity is extremely low…and it will continue to become an increasingly less effective way of landing your dream job.
But you’ve got to be strategic about using social media.   You need to tactically find those individuals who might be able to help you.  You need to be creative and compelling in your message to them.  You need to be organized in your approach, including a contact list, status, follow up, etc.. and you need to network, network, network!
Assuming you are able to strategically go about finding and contacting the right people (or you already know how to do this because you’ve worked with me or read some of my other material), there are a few social media perils you need to AVOID while searching for a new position.
1)      If you’re currently employed and looking for a new position, be smart about it.  If you’re updating your status with “looking for a new job” or “I can’t believe what a jerk my boss is” etc.. you are all kinds of wrong (and a bit disassociated from reality perhaps?).  Remember, the Internet is forever and putting that kind of information out for your current (or potential) employer is just not smart.  Your current employer will realize you’re looking to make a move and this will likely hinder any further advancement at your current company.  Potential employers (who may review your Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or other account) will see you as a complainer and form impressions of you based on this. 

2)      During your job search (and just in general), it’s a good idea to stay away from discussing controversial topics on your social media sites.  Religion, politics, etc.. all have their place.  Whatever you believe, it’s likely someone will disagree.  Why let your potential new employer have that kind of ammunition before they even get a chance to meet with you?  Consider some recent Social Media FAILS:

a.       Gilbert Gottfried lost his job over offensive twitter updates.  DUMB!
b.      Rep Weiner has made a fool of himself with twitter photos, and may lose his job.  At the very least his future “employers” (the voters) have the right to “fire” him next election.
c.       Casey Anthony had her party-like-a-rockstar photos of her all over the place, which may ultimately be some of the evidence that gets her the death penalty.
There’s just no reason to make these fatal mistakes.  Think before you tweet or before you hit “send” on that LOL status update.  You may think you’re clever and your friends will get a kick out of whatever it is you have to say, but even if it MIGHT offend someone, maybe you could tell them in person the next time you see them instead of jeopardizing your own career search.
3)      Change your privacy settings.  If you insist on ignoring tip #2, there are some precautions you can take.  Change your settings.  Edit who (your friends and people out of your network) can see what.  Some sites, like Facebook, have private groups you can join to discuss things you don’t want all to see.  All the sites have some levels of privacy settings available.  Know what they are, and choose the most private settings if you must.   DISCLAIMER **Even if we’re not friends on twitter, FB, LinkedIn, etc… I can find your status updates.  Trust me on this…RECRUITERS ARE CREATIVE!  We have our ways of finding information.  Not all potential employers will see this, but some of them might…even if you’re “private”.
I want you to have success in your career search!  I hope these reminders will help you to this end.  Go out there and tweet to your heart’s content, grow your networks, start conversations, get yourself actively networked.  Just BE SMART about it and you’ll be glad you did.
Until next time, stay positive and keep envisioning yourself in that career you’ve always dreamed of.  There is power in visualization! 

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