Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What if your next job depended on your social media presence?

What if your NEXT job depended on your social media presence?  What if you were hired based on the  content of your LinkedIn profile, tweets, Klout, & Kred scores?  I tweeted about this a few days ago, but it's been bothering me.   I've realized that it already does. 

Already there have been articles about job requirements requiring a certain number of followers and and Klout/Kred scores.  (See http://read.bi/15Bhdma as an example).  And we've all heard stories about people losing their jobs based on what they've posted to Facebook, Twitter, or other tools. Many of their own stupidity or for inappropriate speech. 10 months ago, Careerbuilder did a survey where they reported 37% of employers use Facebook to pre-screen applicants.  That number is NOT going to go down. 

Hopefully, for the most part, employers will tell their applicants, be consistent and screen everyone (to not show bias), and  make decisions based on information that is not legally protected (e.g. race, disability status, etc). 

So what do you do? I would suggest looking at three key areas: 

  1. Evaluate what's out there already.  Log in and look at your profiles, your friends and your posts. When you're all done, do a Google search on your name.  What comes up? If your name is Paul Newman, then there's little you can do*.  Look at the information they can find, and think how an employer would react if they saw it?  What about your mother or grandmother? 
  2. Clean it up. If you need to de-friend or un-tag or delete a post, do it NOW!  Before you're job hunting. If you need to actually delete your Facebook or other account do it.  Decide LinkedIn is strictly business. Facebook, strictly personal.  
  3. Re-create the message.  Make sure employers find you the right way.  Post, tweet, blog, or whatever, but do it with the knowledge that a post about politics may (or may not) help (or hurt) you get your next job.  But posting on key topics related to your field, or about things interesting to you might. Build a personal brand (see here, here, or here)
Once you think you're done, you're not done. Monitor what's going on occasionally  so that you're not surprised next time. Because next time, you'll be searched or evaluated, or judged on even more public information than today.

* If your name is very common, or comes up in a search with someone you're not associated with, tell the person you're meeting with-- better to make a joke about it and get it out in the open that you're not that person-- it tells them you're aware and helps focus them in the right direction.  I knew a Norman Bates who couldn't get a hotel room.  I know a Harrold Potter who can't make dinner reservations without a broom joke. Address it!

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