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Social Networking: Can it really get you a job?

It seems that everyone is participating in some form of social
networking these days. Whether it’s Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or
some other form of online networking if you’re not using it, you’re
quickly becoming part of the minority.

Social networking is great for a lot of things. Connecting with
family and friends, sharing pictures, mass communications and meeting
new professional and personal acquaintances are just some of the many
pluses. However, some of you may be skeptical as to whether or not
social media is the new type of networking that will build the bridges
towards your next career opportunity. It’s hard to believe that
online communication could ever take the place of face-to-face
interactions. To be honest with you, I don’t think it will. Studies
show that the human brain reacts differently to physical interactions
than any other type of digital interaction. More emotion is involved
and people naturally need to “see before they can believe”. But (and
this is a big one) I do believe that this will become a front loader
to how you get a face-to-face interview. Bottom line, whether you
like it or not, social media is catching on quicker than anyone
expected and it’s being used for both personal and professional
matters. If you want to stay competitive in this increasingly
difficult job market, becoming familiar with social media is essential
and here’s why:

Social networking is faster than traditional face-to-face networking.
Gone are the days of driving or walking around to different offices to
drop off applications in hope that the senior manager will happen to
walk by, see your smiling face, and stop to chat. People are getting
busier and busier in their jobs and the chances of anyone, with the
authority to actually hire you, to come out and greet you when you
drop off your application is slim to none. Social networking is on
their time. Instead of spending time commuting from one location to
another, you can interact with exponentially more people on social
media sites. Plus, your profile is always available for them to
view. If they’re too busy at that particular time, they can always
come back to view your profile when they have time. This increases
the chances of the hiring authority actually viewing your profile. If
your profile is done right (see profile tips below) it will become
similar to a Curriculum Vitae.
Social networking is also more complete than a traditional resume. If
you’ve ever been negated an interview because your resume didn’t show
how you met all the qualifications (but you know you could do the
job), then social networking is the perfect opportunity for you.
Sites like Linked In and Gov Loop have opportunities for you to post
pictures, extra curricular activities, join professional interest
groups and best of all for people to post recommendations about you.
These are all added bonuses for hiring authorities to view into just
how qualified and well-rounded you are.

So yeah, social networking is great, but there is always a catch.
Social networking can also be very dangerous to your professional
career if you don’t keep it professional. As hiring managers continue
to use social media tools to find candidates, they become more savvy
on how to locate the not-so-good information about candidates as
well. Examples being a girl who sent out a fairly negative tweet
about the looks of an interviewer she just interviewed with, only to
find out that company was following her tweets. Or the guy whose
Facebook profile contained inappropriate pictures and wall posts from
friends only to have the hiring authority happen upon it. The one
thing you must always keep in mind when using social media is that
once it’s online it’s there forever and, for the most part, available
for everyone to see. That being said, don’t run off and cancel your
accounts and vow never to use the internet again. Social media will
work if you know how to use it correctly. The following are some

If you don’t want your mother reading it, don’t make it public. Most
social media sites have options for you to privatize certain parts of
your profile. Whether you make your entire profile accessible only to
accepted friends or simply pick and choose which parts you want to
hide, the odds are if you’re using it for both personal and private
use, you will want to edit at least part of the content that’s
viewable to the public eye.

Choose the right sites. Not every social networking site is
professional. So far, I have found that Linked In (www.linkedin.com) and Facebook (www.facebook.com) seem to be the most popular professional sites. I am new to GovLoop but this also seems to be a great one. This doesn’t mean you can’t join the other sites but keep them private so that they don’t show up if a hiring authority runs a search on your name. Also, social media is changing quicker than most people can keep up. If you’ve found any other sites that you think are better for networking, please let me know.

Join the right groups. There are a plethora of groups on social media
sites. If you’re in the finance field, do a search on a page like
Linked In to find any related groups. Once you join, you’re
automatically connected to all the other professionals in that group.
This makes your profile more visible to other people in your field and
the chances of your profile being looked at by a hiring authority

Think about what you type. Social media sites are not formal as a
resume but they do reflect your work. Spelling and grammatical errors
can stick out like a sore thumb on your page. Make sure you put some
thought into anything you post online and try not to use too much
texting language (i.e. LOL or TTFN) or use a letter in place of a word
(i.e. What R U doing L8r? Dunno, want 2 meet @ 8? K, sounds good. C U

Hopefully this brief rant on social networking helps you better
locate job opportunities. If you happen to join, or are already a
member, feel free to find me on any of these other sites. Happy job

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I’m a recruiter — definately social networking can assist one in landing a job. Some of us utilize this method to source job candidates! You’re right, this is a worthwhile site – many of us list jobs, as well as assist other members in their job search.

Michaela Holmberg

Thanks Jerry. I saw this as being a problem too. WSDOT has a Google Groups page that is available for everyone to see. I originally posted this blog on that page and moved it over here to reach a bigger audience. Speaking of which, Google Groups has an Adult Content Warning on my page that I cannot get them to take off and is therefore being blocked by certain agencies. Do you know of any good blog sites I could switch to that are open to the public? Currently the page is on: http://groups.google.com/group/wsdot-employment


Jerry –

You’re so right! As a recruiter, I don’t “put all my eggs in one basket” so to speak. There’s many options out there for social networking, it’s a matter of finding out what one works best and grabs the biggest audience – or – sometimes, you utilize certain sources to reach a certain group. If I’m recruiting for Hydrologists, I utilize other sources (and sometimes here on the slight chance I might find someone working as a hydrologist in the government arena…sometimes it turns out that someone who reads your post knows someone – in that case, it’s all about referral!). So many options nowadays.