The key word there is “working.”
A lot of us play with social media. It’s a quick, fun way to entertain and be entertained, even when it bends toward embarrassing. Posting a picture on Facebook from the Cinco De Mayo party that shows you wearing a lampshade and saluting the camera with a bottle of tequila is cute and likely to get a laugh from your friends — none of whom are hiring at the moment.
That’s playing. When you’re job hunting, it’s better to work with social media.
Working with social media means taking advantage of the great communication tools available on the Internet to help you find the right job, at the right salary, in the right place. That could mean 1) writing blogs, 2) participating in online discussion groups or 3) posting videos that demonstrate you have a talent that an employer would want.
“If you know how to use social media, there really are no restrictions in your job search anymore,” Tom Gresosky, Executive Recruiter for FalconSearch, Inc., told Debt.org. “It used to be that you were lucky if you knew 100 people around town, or maybe around the state, who could help you find a job. Now, you can reach two million people anywhere in the country or even in the world, if that’s what you want. All it takes is a click of a mouse.”
The encouraging news is that employers and recruiters are literally sitting by their computers, waiting to hear from you.
Gresosky says joining discussions about your field of interest, and answering or asking questions that contribute to the discussion, is the best use of these sites. For example, if you are an accountant, your Facebook page could show discussions related to filing income taxes, as well as news and other points of view from different sources.
“There are a number of ways people exchange information and collaborate on issues via social media,” Gresosky said. “Recruiters know about those sites and they go there to make lists of prospective candidates and give them a value.
Another way to make an impression is to post a video using YouTube, particularly if your skill set shows up better in video or audio form. It’s often hard to convey personality in text form, but very easy to project on video as are communication skills in dealing with people.
“I’m definitely in favor of a short video clip being part of the overall social media strategy,” Gresosky said. “But there are limits. Make sure the skills you’re showing off are appropriate to the job you’re seeking.”
In other words, make sure the form of social media you choose works for you. Keep the playing part private, or save it for another time.
Bill Fay is a writer for Debt.org, focused mainly on news stories about the spending habits of families and government. He spent 21 years in the newspaper business and eight more in television and radio, dealing with college and professional sports, then seven forgettable years writing speeches and marketing materials for a government agency.