Social Media and Your Job

Worlds_Coolest_Intern_Cover
Have you cast your vote? Who you think should be the “World's Coolest Intern”?

Just recently, the Standard Chartered Bank has turned its job hunt into a reality game show, “World’s Coolest Intern”. Short-listed candidates had to promote themselves using social media tools they deem suitable. So, they, and their supporters, blogged, tweeted, Facebooked, and YouTubed in this popularity game.

What about the rest of us less creative types? Is social media just for the more creative types, or for those passionate about new media?

Shelf that thought. As much as social media is for the creatives types, it is for the more “boring” types. Here is how the vast majority of us can tap into social media to find a job or enhance our careers.

1. Get linked.


LinkedIn is, as a good friend would say, the Facebook for professionals. Registering on the platform gives you access to other professionals you can turn to for help or advice. You start with people you actually know, and then expand it beyond to their contacts. It also saves you time because networking is no longer confined to the number of business cards you exchange at events.

2.
Be curious.

Social media is all about generating conversations that are not defined by geographical boundaries. So, talk to the subject experts and other enthusiasts. Ask them questions, comment on what they say. Build a relationship with these people. You would be surprised at the number of replies on LinkedIn Answers. Knowledge gets shared, and people feel good about themselves.

3.
Show off.

Got good content to share? Use social media to get the word out about your interest and capabilities. Those interested in finance can work at becoming active members on finance communities and forums; those with a flair for design can display their works on a blog, Tumblr feed, or Flickr photostream. Just remember to update your content regularly. If you worry about generating enough good stuff to keep people coming back, consider contributing to a blog that has other writers. The varied content and writing styles on such joint-blogs can pull more traffic in, thus raising your visibility.

4.
Say I’m for hire.

Sometimes, it pays to shout out that you are back in the job market. Your friends might send jobs your way, or alert you to opportunities that they stumble on. Freelancers can also create a YouTube resume video that summarizes the two pages of text into a visual feast. (Accountants might want to think twice about trying this though...) And if you still happen to be employed but are looking, updating your LinkedIn profile can be a subtle but good enough 'trigger' to send recruiters your way.

Of course, there is the flip side to the equation – the do-nots:

1.
Don’t leave a gingerbread crumb trail.

While many companies do not have a social media policy yet, it is good practice to leave all work-related complaints for the dinner table or tea with friends. All employers are fearful that their reputation will be tarnished, and are likely to see social media as a new creature that must be tamed. Any prospective employers will also wonder what about their company could result in the passionate rants that your current employer has. Case in point: SIA cabin crewmembers who complained about colleagues, rosters and customers on Facebook were officially reprimanded. On a closer level, I know of a long-time employee who was let go within the week because she tendered and then made a scathing blog post about her employer.

2.
Don’t tell all.

Twitter and Facebook have made it so easy to shout out and let everyone know all the great and wonderful things you are doing and thinking. But there is a thin line between interesting and spam. Letting the whole world know that you had pizza for dinner last night (with ham and pepperoni of course) and slept without brushing your teeth is just rude. I would not want to be standing next to you in the train if that is the case. If your profile is open, colleagues may chance upon the posts you made. Believe me, even if you are a fantastic lawyer, it will change their perception of you. “So-and-so does not brush his teeth in the morning! Steer clear!”

Social media is really just a tool for us to harness. There is no reason that the creative types should lay any more claim to the networks and gizmos that new media gives. Just a note, your online career strategy is not everything – work on the 'offline' stuff as well, like knowledge, skills, and grooming. Lastly, I will leave you with the wise words of an industry expert: “Online finds have to start from good offline foundations.”

About the author:
Michele loves to observe people at work and play, and wondering what drives people to behave the way they do. She graduated with a double major in Economics and Finance, and is exploring ways to marry her interest in communications and finance. She is currently wondering how to block all of the inane quiz and game results on Facebook. Michele can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related link:
Tweet for Jobs

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