Social Media - Friend or Foe of the Job Seeker?

The buzz around using social media to find a job or find a candidate is starting to become very loud. Frankly, if you are a recruiter and you haven’t started using social media sites like LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter to find and stay in touch with prospective candidates, you are already behind. Remember the Internet moves at the speed of the Internet and that’s pretty fast. Things that seem important and relevant one day can be passe’ the next. Take blogging for instance, at one point there was more pressure on everyone to have a blog than we could stand. Many of us caved in, with some of us finding it useful, some finding it social and fun, and many finding it a complete waste of time.

Blogging has recently been displaced by micro-blogging through tools like Twitter that only allow a 140 character post. Originally designed to help friends keep tabs on each other, Twitter has quickly displaced the blog as the tool of choice for anyone wanting to build a large audience of like minded people and stay in touch with them, and this brings us to the point of this blog post. (yes I am still blogging) Are these various social media tools a friend or foe to the job seeker?

For those of you with Facebook and MySpace pages, know this, most good recruiters are now searching the Internet for people they are considering. They can do this in a number of ways like simply typing your name into Google, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube or other social media tools. If you haven’t typed your own name into Google lately I highly recommend you try it and see what comes up. For most people not much comes up when recruiters dig on the Internet and usually very little comes up that might affect a recruiters decision one way or the other. But as Michael Phelps will tell you, having a picture of yourself taking a hit off a bong on your MySpace page or any of your friends pages who may have tagged you is probably not a good idea if you are looking for a professional position. It’s a real bummer for the free spirits of the world who just now became aware of the fact that “The Man” actually has something to say about how much freedom they exhibit on the Internet.

So here is the bottom line for both job seekers and people in corporate America, check out where and how you show up on the Internet. If you find things that are not flattering or that may affect whether or not you get the job or promotion you are gunning for, find a way to remove it or take it down.

Going forward, you may want to seriously consider having two identities on the Internet, one for your friends that makes no mention of your name and probably doesn’t contain any photos or mention of you doing drugs or engaging in sex acts ( I can’t believe I have to mention this but you would be surprised at what I have seen lately) and the other identity, which may include your name (i.e on LinkedIn) which you would share with recruiters or job seekers in an effort to acquire and maintain an on-line business relationship with people who can help you.

Oh ya, and in case you hadn’t noticed, I logged this post at about 1:45a.m. CST. Who’s got time to manage their blog during working hours!

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