Students are well-connected online. They are using traditional job boards as well as networking sites to identify opportunities of interest. There are also employers finding them online and exploring interest in specific jobs. This is a new phenomenon in the job search process. Unfortunately it is also easier to hide behind technology. While it can be a great enabler in the job search process, it does not replace the power of building relationships . You do not want your personal brand to tell employers that you are passive.
A common obstacle for networking was finding the right people to talk to. No longer a problem. With Linked In you can build a professional network that can connect you to thousands of business professionals. You can find alumni groups and other affinity groups to connect you to people in your areas of interest. You can identify contacts at your target companies. It is an extremely powerful tool to identify appropriate contacts. The networking is still about building personal relationships so it should be in person if possible or at least a phone conversation. Linked In doesn’t replace networking it makes it easier to find the right people with whom to network. Use these tools to show potential employers that you are persistent, creative and eager to learn.
Gone are the days of losing track of former managers and scrambling to have to find references. It is easy to stay connected through Linked In. Keep your references posted so they can support your personal brand.
There are many opportunities to learn about different companies, their culture and specific jobs through social media. It is a great opportunity for both networking and for interview preparation. There is no excuse for being unprepared when the information is at your finger tips. Preparation can be a differentiator in the interview process and it demonstrates your diligence, attention to detail and preparation.
Public Vs Private
The biggest challenge for students is separating their professional social media presence from their personal presence. You really don’t want a perspective employer to see the photos of spring break. Students need to be mindful of their public media presence and use security wisely. Inappropriate material online can cost you the job. Protect your personal brand with potential employers.
I strongly encourage anyone seeking a job or even just trying to maintain their network to set up a profile in Linked In and to use the power of this networking tool. The more complete your profile, the easier it is for people to find you, including potential employers. Linked In is a professional site so it is an opportunity to get your professional image out there. Great way to connect with fellow alumni in target companies, to reconnect with former colleagues, etc. Outstanding networking tool. Many employers are also using it to identify potential candidates. Perfect opportunity to present your personal brand.
Facebook is a social media tool for people’s personal lives. While many employers do check facebook for finalists, it is often used to find reasons to eliminate a candidate. Employers don’t want to see photos of spring break, drinking or other inappropriate behaviors. They also don’t want to see someone bashing their manager or current employer. Facebook can identify red flags that could eliminate the candidate from consideration. While it can be a useful tool for networking it is personal. Think about whether you want an employer to see all the details of your personal life. Be very judicious with your security settings.
Social media can significantly enhance your job search, but inappropriate use could very quickly derail your search so it is important to have a clear strategy and strong security settings. Protect and manage your personal brand – it is your greatest asset in your job search.
While you definitely want to be careful during your job search that your social media presence doesn’t work against you, a lack of social media presence could work against you as well. Here are a few key concerns:
- Lost Networking Opportunities – with sites such as Linked In it is easier than ever to connect to former colleagues, alumni, and contacts at your target companies for networking purposes. Failure to leverage these tools puts you at a significant disadvantage since networking is the single most important thing you can do in your job search.
- Missed Visibility Opportunities – if you are not there, they can’t find you. If a former boss wants to find you for a great new opportunity and they can’t find you online, they are likely to give up. Recruiters looking for a specific skill set will not be able to find you. Don’t hide yourself and your qualifications when you are looking for a new opportunity. Be sure the right people are going to be able to find you.
- Perception of Non-Current Skills- failure to have any social media presence at all leads employers to believe that you are not technically savvy and informed on current technologies. Perception matters in the job search so use all the tools in the arsenal to demonstrate your skills, flexibility and knowledge.
- Increase Your Likelihood of Success – using the full range of tools available to you in your search can only increase your likelihood of success.