Can Social Media Help You Find the Right Job?
Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. As these and other social media websites become more and more essential for the job search, employment professionals must be aware of the benefits—and the challenges—of these intriguing new online platforms.
“I tend to think of social media as another tool in the toolbox, but not radically different from the methods we’re already utilizing,” says Cori C. Di Biase, principal with the Aperio Consulting Group. He acknowledges that social media can in fact be a great tool, but must also be used with caution.
“People say it a lot, but it bears repetition—everything you type into Facebook or Twitter is a permanent record that is being put into the stratosphere,” Di Biase warns. It’s easy to feel like your posts, comments, and profile are only visible to the “friends” or “followers” you’ve chosen–but this is simply not the case. Anything you write can potentially be seen by others outside your personal or professional network.
“Don’t tell jokes, for instance,” Di Biase cautions. “Think of what you write in terms of how a potential employer will react. Will what you tweeted make you look foolish, offensive, unprofessional?” As an employment specialist, your social media presence is not just about you, it’s the people you represent. It’s all there for everyone to see.
Di Biase notes that these sites have tremendous potential, as well as risk. “To really be taken seriously on social media, and have people pay attention rather than skipping over them, it comes down to relationships. It’s about making real connections with people.” For skilled users, social media may even lead to deeper friendships and to employment opportunities.
“Show interest in what other people are talking about,” Di Biase adds. “Respond to their issues and ideas—kind of the same rules as when we meet them in person. Show them deference and respect. Do research, build one-on-one relationships with them outside of the social network. Build those relationships. Sometimes, relationships get lost when we try to accumulate Facebook friends and don’t reach out.”
He adds that using these websites is also about getting to know which one suits you best. Be responsive to your own style, and use the social media site that works best for you.
As social media becomes an even more widely used tool for employment professionals, the DirectCourse/College of Employment Services team will continue to bring you updates and tips from experts in the field. And check out our course “Strategies for Job Development, Part One,” for an entire lesson dedicated to social media.