According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’s 2012 Student Survey, about 41 percent of 2012 college graduates are using social media to help them land a job, up 33 percent since 2008. In addition, nearly 25 percent are using social media as a research tool, NACE said.
Lori Trahan, assistant director of career services at Kennesaw State University, said one of the biggest challenges social media has created for young job seekers is that it can make them act too casual during the process.
“We have recruiters tell us that too many young professionals treat recruiters like they are their best friends,” she said. “They are too friendly and too casual. They don’t understand the boundaries. It all goes back to the way they interact through social media sites — a place where they may say whatever they want, whenever they want.”
To help its students in the job search process, Kennesaw State offers various workshops with topics including the dos and don’ts of building a digital footprint and resume building.
“This is a different age,” she said. “We’ve hired students to help in our department who don’t know the proper way to write down a phone message.”
While Cobb employers such as Lockheed Martin Aeronautics seek prospective employees through a variety of social media sites, it starts with those actively reviewing opportunities and applying and creating their online employment profile through its career website.
“For us, it is about the time-sensitive nature to find someone we want to partner with and meet for an interview because they have shown through their online social and professional identities that they are a valuable addition,” said Leslie Wilson, a talent engagement and social media partner recruiter for Lockheed.
Wilson said the biggest mistake a young professional can make online is to misrepresent who they are.
“It’s not convenient to create online split personalities — to have that social and professional separation. A savvy recruiter can find both,” Wilson said. “Just be publicly viewable and accessible and know that anything you type is recorded or retrievable.”
Carol Maxwell, vice president of talent acquisition for WellStar Health System, said young job seekers must know the difference between personal and professional social media.
“Employers routinely monitor social media and online presences of their candidates,” Maxwell said. “It isn’t uncommon for companies to use search firms, who are experts at online research, to look into an applicant’s background. My recommendation is to be aware of the impact your social media sites can have on employment. If it isn’t something you wouldn’t want a boss to see, don’t post it.”
Gary Henning, Southeast district president for Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, said the first step in managing your digital footprint is to find out what information is posted.
“Type your first and last name into one of the search engines and see what comes up,” he said. “If you belong to a social networking site or have a personal blog, adjust your privacy settings so you can control who has access. Set up an alert using an Internet tracking service under your name so that you receive a notification every time something new is written about you online.”
THE FIVE DOS AND DON’TS OF SOCIAL MEDIA:
* No. 1: DON’T be one-sided when using social media sites
DO listen to what others have to say and share useful articles or relevant comments
* No. 2: DON’T send generic messages to your LinkedIn contacts asking for recommendations
DO request LinkedIn recommendations individually with a personal message
* No. 3: DON’T post anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, especially embarrassing photos
DO maintain full business acumen when “friending” coworkers, professional contacts and customers
* No. 4: DON’T post negative comments or criticize others when using Twitter
DO use the direct message feature to initiate contact regarding sensitive issues, then try to discuss offline, if possible
* No. 5: DON’T poke business contacts
DO stay top of mind with your contacts by keeping your profile current and taking advantage of online and offline networking opportunities
— Source: Robert Half Technology
Michael J. Pallerino has reported on business news for magazines and newspapers in the Atlanta area for more than 20 years.