Social media and job search is a hot topic for both sides of the interview equation. There is no consistent hard data about whether online communities foster the process. I heard a range of viewpoints last week while speaking on the subject to a diverse group of HR professionals, undergrads and recent grads convened by the Human Resource Association at
Participate or Become Extinct?
Somewhere between my description of routes to find candidates on LinkedIn and the occupations that are best suited for a post on tweetyjobs an audience member paused the discussion when she said, “I’m a dinosaur, I don’t use any of this and I don’t even know what Twitter is. Why should I even be on LinkedIn?” A room full of faces turned to me for the answer, many looked like they had an idea; others seemed to be waiting for an explanation.
We had a great conversation about not just creating a profile, but keeping it up to date and joining groups to share information. I wasn’t the only person present who had found a candidate through on line networking. After a bit the original questioner chimed in and said, “I get it, I used to send out a bunch of separate emails or pick up the phone, now I can communicate to a group.”
Be Part of the Conversation
Active use of social media makes a user part of the conversation. The trick is to identify which conversation to participate in. Many members of the HR Association talked about professional groups they belong to that share useful information, job leads and questions.
I don’t buy it when someone tells me, “No one over 45 uses this stuff.” Sure there are demographics about the users of different sites but one of the beauties of social media is that it can actually provide a bridge across generations. The 20 somethings in the room last week confirmed that they were frequent Facebook users who are making certain their pages are ready to be rated by employers. They are also taking their online savvy and graduating to LinkedIn professional profiles. My nephew who introduced me to Twitter via posts from the
Social media can add to information overload but it’s also a great way to filter information. When you actively participate in groups you can choose to ignore updates or conversations and retain the ability to pursue candidates and job leads when this is the focus. I think of Twitter as providing headline news, instead of an entire web page or e-newsletter I can read less than 140 characters, including any link, and click to read additional information.
You are not a social media dinosaur; you can’t be, you’re reading a blog! What will you add to encourage those who are not part of the conversation to jump in and avoid the fate of the tyrannosaurus?