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Social Media is the New Calling Card

May 26th, 2009 · 5 Comments

   Kyle Potvin

                                       Principal, Splash Communications, LLC

Last week, I chatted with my graduating niece about her job search.  She was using traditional methods – posting on Monster.com and lots of networking.  I asked her about social media, but besides Facebook, she wasn’t using any.  That’s fine for a scientist, but it’s a different story if you are entering the PR industry. 

Today, to up your chances of landing that dream job, you must incorporate new techniques into your job search arsenal.  Social media is the new calling card.  (Check out this story in the New York Times). 

The two easiest types of social media to experiment with are blogging and Twitter.  My own view on Facebook is that, as a perspective employer, I am not going to Friend you.  Facebook was designed for college student interaction and I don’t need to know every detail of your personal life.  If you want to Friend me, however, I’ll accept, and I will browse!

So let’s talk about three reasons why blogs and Twitter can enhance your job search:

  1. Demonstrates Your Familiarity with Social Media Tools.  Facebook, Twitter, blogging…the face of PR has changed in the past several years.  These new ways of communicating are now standard in many PR programs.  Employers want to know that you can effectively use these tools – and help them innovate with them too.
  2. Provides a Personal Snapshot.  A resume is one dimensional but a blog is practically a breathing and living piece of you.  Posts (or tweets) provide details about your interests, your ideas, and your passions.  This can help you jump off the page and land you ahead of another (duller!) candidate.
  3. Shows Your Judgment.  Trust.  Every employer wants to know that you will represent them well and stay true to their brand.  What you post on a blog or Twitter is a litmus test for this.  If you are writing about your recent break up or lamenting how desperately you need a job (actual posts I’ve seen), this does not inspire confidence.  If you don’t show discretion when you are representing yourself, hiring managers know this quality will not magically appear on the job.  If you chose to write a personal blog, that is fine – just don’t share it with a future employer.

Our fantastic Splash intern Esther Reynolds (BU COM) brought up interesting questions on the topic of authenticity. She asks, “With the increasing transparency and participation in all of the various web-based conversations, how much are college students expected to convey?  Is authenticity and openness only acceptable when it is tailored in a certain way or are we entering an age where barriers are being broken down and a more tolerant attitude is taking over?  Lastly, do employers really frown on seeing a red Solo cup in a tagged picture, regardless of whether it contains Sprite or Smirnoff?

What do you think?

(Kyle Potvin blogs about creativity and fresh thinking at www.splashllc.com/blog.  Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kpsplash.)

Tags: Advice from a Pro · Guest Post · Job Search

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stuart Foster // May 26, 2009 at 9:42 am

    I think it really comes down to how you utilize and build the relationships you make rather then using any specific tool. Social media is shiny. But in terms of being revolutionary? It’s just another way of communication (albeit with less noise).

    I think you have to show a lot more these days besides social media knowledge in order to get past the front door. That’s what I’ve found at least.

  • 2 Rachel Esterline .:. A Step Ahead // May 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I think students should convey as much as they are comfortable with. I make my Twitter, blog, Facebook and other networks available to everyone because I have nothing to hide.

    But, I do censor myself. I write authentically about my career and professional experiences, but I tend to keep my personal life private. I’m open about what matters professionally.

  • 3 Kristen // May 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I used to think that having an online identity was not important. I had no idea that it could be so beneficial to the career I want to pursue. I appreciate these insights. I found a book that has some great advice on careers as well. It’s called The Job Coach for Young Professionals. Every college student and college graduate can benefit from this book. College students can begin to fill in their resumes while they are still in college and make the best use of career services while they are still in school.

  • 4 Aubrey M. // Jun 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Ron! I have a quick question for you, it’s something that relates to this post a little.

    Say you have your own website, which you use as a virtual resume. Is it ever safe to post full documents and writing samples? For example, a campaign, or a creative writing piece, something that was not necessarily published in a newspaper, etc.

    I’m worried about people copying my work, but I think it’s wise to display it. It’s a catch-22? What do you suggest?

  • 5 Culpwrit // Jun 2, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Not to worry, Aubrey. The key is to get your virtual resume and writing samples in front of as many people as possible. Thanks to transparency of the Internet, most people credit sources for fear of being caught plagiarizing. Don’t worry about the others.

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