I have a friend, a high level executive, who uses Facebook only for personal stuff, is barely present on LinkedIn and sees no value in Twitter. Now I know having a vibrant presence on social media tools is not a requirement to live fully in this world, except that he is eager to find a job. He is looking diligently and working his network strategically to no avail. As his friend, I explain how it is unfathomable to me in this day and age to conduct a job search without using these social media tools more robustly. He replies, “Well, I want to maintain my privacy.” My reply? “Well, it seems to be working. No one is finding you.”
There is one thing most people looking for a job may not realize: Recruiters automatically filter out the less technically savvy from their applicant pools by using these tools. So make sure you are present in these mediums, or consider yourself filtered.
Now I understand there are legitimate safety reasons for some to remain under the radar and off the grid. And I am certainly not advocating publishing your social security number or the answers to your banking security questions on public domain. Of course, if you have a ton of interviews you are fielding, then please stop reading as you already know what you are doing. But with the exception of a select few individuals, both passive and active job seekers need to have a branded presence on the web to ensure the other aspect of their search strategy can be effective. They must be out there to be found by the people who can lead them to their next opportunity.
• Anyone can have over 250+ Linkedin Connections qualitatively.
– You are already on it, so make it work for you. If you consider people from all levels from all aspects of your life (professional employment, education, childhood, family, friends, neighbors, vendors, clients, service partners, personal services, hobby enthusiasts, extracurricular activities…you get the idea.), you can reach this connection threshold. This will improve your qualitative search result dramatically to yield you better job search leads.
Side consideration: If you are thinking, “Linkedin never really worked for me.” I challenge you to ask yourself, “Do you really work it?” Would you walk into a networking event, not speak to anyone, and then come out and say “Ahh, that was a waste of time…no one spoke to me and I did not receive one lead.” I would think not—so the evidence is that you need to reach out to people in this venue online and offline to bear fruit for you.
• Using Facebook mostly for personal stuff?
– That is ok. Consider reaching out to people offline to connect with them in a more meaningful way to determine if you can help each other out in a professional manner. You won’t be able to help everyone and every person will not be able to help you, but all you need is a few to help catapult you to the next level in your search.
• Not sure what to even do with Twitter?
– If you are not sure what to say in the 140 character limit, then don’t say anything. Instead, create an account to follow recruiters in your industry and/or discipline that post positions in which you have an interest. You can be a lurker on Twitter until you are ready to tweet—which may be never. But until then, do not let this goldmine of posted opportunity pass you by.
• Create a searchable webpage housing your resume, achievements and means of contact.
– On this page only needs to be general location, phone and email. Specific identifying information does not need to be here. Even general location does not matter if you are open to relocation or are looking for positions that naturally require significant travel. You can even create an email address for your public page that is different from your personal email address. But as hiring managers run searches for what you do, you can be found by making yourself available in that manner.
Privacy is highly important. With my family fallen victim to identity theft a few years ago, I do understand that fully. Prudence is paramount. But if it borders on or travels into paranoia when you need to advance your career, get out of a dysfunctional company or end your time in transition, then you have to consider the consequences for your decisions and determine if it is a cost you are continually willing to pay in the form of stagnant career or unemployment.
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