Social networking sites can instantly connect you with hundreds or thousands of people in your networks, which could help if you’re hunting for a job. Not all aspects of social network-based job hunts are positive, though. You might be revealing more than you realize with questionable statuses or being tagged in photos posted by less-than-discerning friends. Although it’s not an uncommon job search tactic, using social networking has distinct advantages and disadvantages worth considering before taking the plunge.
Revealing the Real You
If you’re regularly visiting or updating your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking profiles, chances are that you’ve created a multi-dimensional representation of who you are that could be more telling than your simple resume or cover page. This could be an advantage if you’re checking in at professional development conferences, sharing news of a recent publication or posting photos of volunteering in Guatemala. If your social networking profiles depict you partying, making inappropriate statements -- especially if they involve a current or previous employer -- or in some way contradicting statements you made on your professional documents, this is a serious disadvantage.
Creating Initial Contact
Social networking platforms can help form an initial contact with potential employers. By liking or following a potential employer’s profile, you create a wedge that could lead to subsequent conversations; at the very least, you may get news of upcoming job fairs or available positions. Learning more about companies you’re interested in will help you tailor your social networking account more closely to resemble those of their current employeesf.
Idiosyncrasies and Disadvantages
Social networking platforms tend to be very good at what they do, but not perfect for everything. Searching on Twitter can be limited by the short character count and shelf life of posts, making it harder to communicate authentically with potential employers, according to Career Addict. Facebook can be more of a social site than a professional networking opportunity, and various privacy settings could make it hard for you and employers to find one another. LinkedIn could be less useful for international job searches, because it has a domestic focus. If you’ve started to create a profile on a social networking platform but left it incomplete, this could signal to potential employers that you don’t finish what you start.
Active, Positive Participation
Participating in public discussions, suggesting articles for a colleague to read and sharing your expertise help increase your online visibility. While you continue to job search, employers may be noticing and appreciating the contributions you make to your field. However, if you have social networking platforms but don’t use them, employers may look askance at your invisibility or silence. You could come across as shy, withdrawn or lacking technical skills.