I’m developing a new course for seeking employment supported by digital tools and social media. This also gives some consideration to Digital Footprint, sometimes referred to as Net Rep (Reputation). There are lots of horror stories about potential employers Googling a candidate to find all sorts of really embarrassing and compromising pictures and texts in Facebook etc. The common wisdom is “clean up your social media accounts”. I’m going a different route entirely and I’m introducing participants to a whole clean slate where all their social media accounts are dedicated to one aim: finding a job. This begins with the email account. Clearly “email@example.com” is not an appropriate address to give potential employers but I don’t actually take anyone seriously that has any kind of hotmail address. My perception may be wrong but other people perceive this too and since getting a job is about making an impression, perceptions are important. Everyone on this new course will get a baycd.net email account (Be All You Can Digital)
Actually, the more I’ve considered this, I’ve begun to realise that if our main purpose online is to land a job, it’s unlikely that our existing social media accounts are of any assistance to this cause. The tendency is for us to grow our “friends” and connections. The social media platforms beseech us to do this. When you set up new account and you fail to add half the universe they pump out messages like; “are you sure, you might be lonely”. My advice people setting out on social media platforms will be: in the first instance don’t add any friends, definitely do not let the application trawl through your email address book or other social media platforms, don’t add a profile image and skip every step that you can. Get as close to a plain vanilla account as you can and THEN start to build your profile and connections.
My own LinkedIn account, for example would be useless for finding a job. I’m connected to colleagues, my bosses and probably half the HR department. I recently added a new Social Enterprise I’ve set up to my profile and my entire contact list was sent a message “congratulate Steve on his new job” – Huh ! Furthermore my contacts are asked to endorse me for skills I either don’t have or have a very fleeting relationship with. Obviously they this so out of kindness or courtesy but I didn’t ask them do endorse me, Linkedin did! When I used Linked in to generate a CV from my profile it looked nothing like a CV. First of all it was way too flippant – e.g. “I’m a can do guy and if I say I’m going to do something you can take it to the bank.” – That’s it! That’s my claim to employability. Would you give that guy a job? Furthermore, my Linkedin generated CV shows way too many skills, some of which I don’t have. Obviously I can edit this but if I really were seeking a job via Linkedin it would be better if the profile were set out properly in the first place.
I think I’d rename all the major social media platforms. Linked in would be spammedin dot com (see above), Twitter would be called info overload dot com and Facebook would be renamed moving goalposts dot com.
What I am going to advocate is that participants develop a lean social media presence with the right kind and quantity of info. They will develop smallish, carefully chosen networks of contacts. All will be with the sole aim of assisting them finding a job. We don’t want to be totally devoid of personality and humour but using these platforms for job hunting is entirely different, in my opinion, to the “social” way we have become accustomed to using social media platforms. Participants still may need to clean up their existing social accounts but we’ll make sure potential employers find the “right” accounts by giving each participant a business card with the URL’s of where all their stuff is.