When Using Social Networking Sites, the Best Offense is a Good Defense

In a recent blog I provided advice on how to make sure your resume gets seen by a human being. The blog generated a lot of interest and resulted in me being interviewed by Peter Clayton on TotalPicture Radio. Imagine my concern when I read an article in Forbes.com entitled The Death of the Resume. Jeanne Meister writes “forget the resume; today, employers pay more attention to a candidate’s web presence, like their top Google search results, their Klout scores, their number of Twitter followers or the number and quality of recommendations they have on LinkedIn.” However, before you tear up, excuse me, delete the resume you worked so hard developing or ask your resume writer for a refund. You need to remember that the internet was going to replace brick-and-mortar stores. That has not happened in fact according to a survey by the online local media company Local Corporation; approximately 90% of shoppers still prefer brick-and-mortar stores. So, in my humble opinion, social recruiting is a force to be reckoned but will not eliminate the need for a resume.

Let me tell you why. The focus of The Death of the Resume was on how companies could “re-imagine recruiting” by using social media to give candidates an opportunity to showcase their innovation and creativity. Ms. Meister gives an example of Shawn McTigue who applied for an internship with MasterCard using YouTube to showcase his talents. The rest of the recruiting process involved engaging with MasterCard’s Facebook page, uploading a resume (I told you to keep it) on LinkedIn and following directions on Twitter.

In the case of the MasterCard intern application process does this represent a trend or a one off? According to a 2012 survey by Jobvite.com over 90% of companies use or intend to use social media to recruit. So it is a trend. However, only 16% of job seekers used social media to find their most recent job. So it is a one off. Except, 86% of job seekers (passive and active) have a social profile. Remember Field of Dreams and “if you build it they will come.” Apparently that is not the case with social recruiting thus, the call for companies to think outside the App and maybe the way companies recruit needs to be re-imagined as well.

In the meantime, as a job seeker what should be your strategy when using social networking sites? Should you choose the best offense is a good defense or the best defense is a good offense? In my opinion, since the majority of employers are or will reference check you on Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. I suggest you think defensively first. One of the issues with social networking sites is that people do not think through what their thoughts or images project until after they hit the send button. Then reality hits and they realize what I was thinking and of course, that is the issue they were not thinking. So, while there is a growing appeal for you to show your creativity you need to be vigilant in the personal brand you are projecting through your social networking sites.

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