Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Social Media for Job Searchers = Just like a Cocktail Party



By Michael Pollock

In the old days employers and headhunters looking for candidates made phone calls or sent emails. Now they are actively using LinkedIn and other social media sites to find candidates. This is a main source for professional resumes. Friends mention to their social media friends in tweets and updates they are looking for someone. Employers like referrals as "social proof" for a candidate.

So says Social Media Content Strategist Catherine Ventura who told me "in the back of every job seeker's mind should be the idea that nothing you do online is purely social." "If you are looking for work in the TV industry, look at the updates and tweets of people who work in the field. See what topics they are interested in. Just like you do at a cocktail party, don't barge in, spend time listening and then use language that's appropriate to the conversations you are joining."

"Google yourself and see which social media sites come up," says Ventura. "Look at your last 20 tweets and your last 20 Facebook and LinkedIn updates and whatever else comes up (your Amazon reviews for example).

See what you're saying and how you're saying it; what does your social media voice convey to people who don't know you? Do you want to sound like a seasoned pro? A thought leader? A pragmatist? An innovator? An enthusiast? A team player? If you don't sound the way you want, approach it like a screenwriter and start projecting the personality and level of professionalism you DO want to project."

Ventura tells me that she sees the different sites as different sections of a resume. LinkedIn is the most important with professional history and recommendations. She suggests joining groups on LinkedIn, not so much for the postings as for the collage of badges that gives a picture of your interests at a glance.

"Facebook," she says, "is used to best effect as indicating your outside interests, special skills, hobbies and who you are as a person." You know that people do like to peek, especially if they are looking to hire you. So be sure that you have not said anything disrespectful about your employer!

Because social media is public, you should be conscious that people are meeting you this way, and the voice you use - even down to the adjectives - is the first impression you make. Just like a cocktail party.

Michael Pollock is President of Pollock Spark ( www.pollockspark.com ). He is an Executive Coach and Consultant to Creative and Media professionals. He works with people in film, TV, advertising, design, marketing, music and the Internet, bringing them the experience, techniques and inspiration to take their businesses and careers to new levels of success.

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