Allison's Online Portfolio

Social Media is a Double-Edged Sword

Posted on: February 11, 2010

Is social media the job hiring wave of the future? Possibly. It’s amazing how social media can connect you to people all over the world. Interested in a PR job in Chicago? You could easily “connect” with the head of Human Resources at a PR firm in Chicago on LinkedIn. How about a job in finance in China? Try “following” some Chinese financial corporations on Twitter – maybe they’ll turn around and “follow” you too! It seems there’s a new social media site every day; and then a few days later there’s a version of that site for your  cell phone (TwitterBerry anyone?). It’s easier than ever to connect with potential employers. The question is: is this a good thing or a bad thing? Do you want your future boss seeing the drunken pictures you and your friends took last week and then posted on Facebook? Doubtful. However, would you like your potential employer to see your outstanding academic record and all the volunteer work you’ve posted on your LinkedIn account? Definitely. Social media can be very tricky.

Dan Schawbel posted an article called “7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media” on Mashable.com. According to Schawbel, “there will be 1.5 million college graduates this year, yet the job growth rate is at a six-year low, at 1.3%!” He explains that simply sending a resume to businesses and waiting for a response is a thing of the past. “Social networks are starting to become part of the criteria that both hiring managers and college admissions officers are using to weed out applicants. One in five hiring managers conduct background checks using social networks (primarily Facebook), while one in ten college admissions officers do the same.” He offers seven tips for using social media to find a job.

  1. Conduct a people search instead of a job search
  2. Use attraction-based marketing to get job offers
  3. Be proactive on Twitter
  4. Capitalize on LinkedIn
  5. Advertise your brand using AdWords and Facebook Social Ads
  6. Construct a video resume and upload it to YouTube
  7. Subscribe to blogs that have job listings

I hadn’t thought of some of these things before and I found them really interesting. I think that posting a video resume on YouTube is a very innovative idea if you have the confidence to do it; which I don’t think I have. For a more elaborate description of these seven tips click on the Mashable.com link above.

An article on eHow.com by Kat Hasenauer lists some pros and cons of using social media for job hunting. One pro that she lists is that you can easily reach a wide network. She suggests “tweeting” that you’re looking for a job. Perhaps one of your thousands of followers could suggest something. Another pro is that potential employers can quickly look at your profile and see what your interests are as long as your interests are evident in your social networking activity. One last pro is that it creates conversation. Social networking makes conversation easy and you can ask a question about your resume or your cover letter on a social media site and get answers from hundreds of different people. Hasenauer also lists some cons of social media. The first con is that social media blurs the line between your personal and professional life. Gone are the days when it was ok that your Facebook profile picture featured you in a skanky outfit with a Budweiser in your hand. Not ok anymore. You should appear mature and professional on your profile. The other con that she lists is that it could create awkward current employment situations. This means that if you already have a job you should be careful about using social networking to openly search for a new job. It’s probably not a good idea to tweet that you’re looking for a new job when your current boss is one of your Twitter followers. I doubt he/she would take it very well.

“The best way to get a job is through networking.” This is how Rachel Levy begins her article on About.com titled “How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search.” We’ve all heard this phrase hundreds of times. So many times, perhaps, that we tend to want to respond with “DUH!” Maybe that’s just me… Anyway, because we’ve all heard this so many times, it must be true. But what about online social networking? Well Ms. Levy thinks social networking has the potential to work just as well as face-to-face networking; possibly even better. She talks about the three best (in my opinion) social media sites for job-search networking. The first she lists is LinkedIn. Levy says that if you’re not on LinkedIn you definitely need to hop on the bandwagon. She explains the different ways you can use LinkedIn in your job search including performing company searches, browsing job listings, mass e-mailing your LinkedIn connections, and linking your blog and Twitter accounts. Next she talks about Twitter. Levy says that the “best part of Twitter is that it allows you to connect with people you don’t know, based on common interests.” The valuable assets of Twitter that she lists include basic networking, job posting, and connecting to all kinds of people and companies. Finally, Levy discusses Facebook. While she admits that she, like most of us, uses Facebook simply for connecting with friends and family she also says that it can be a great way to network and find potential jobs. The Facebook tools that she lists for job hunting are notes and status updates which can both be used for informing people of your employment situation and ask for help or suggestions.

In my opinion, social media is a great thing. I think it makes it easy to connect with people based on your interests and to learn more about other people. On the flipside, social media makes it easy for other people to learn a lot about you too. It’s a way for you to create your own brand and then to sell it. So, what do you want to tell the world? Are you a mature professional with well-rounded interests or are you a wild child who just likes to have fun (not always a bad thing depending on your career path – think Lindsay Lohan). So, figure out who you want to be, adapt your profiles, and start networking.

Talk to you soon!

– Allison

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11 Responses to "Social Media is a Double-Edged Sword"

Hello again Allison! You are completely right about social media being a “double-edged sword!” You can definitely maximize your potential if you know how to use social media appropriately. Although until this semester I was not very comfortable in blogging and I did not see the need for it, I have found some interesting tips! The same goes with the other social networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. It is very important for us, job seekers, to use these sites. Social media definitely gives more benefits than the traditional newspaper hunting or driving around all day to see who is hiring. I can’t complain one bit, I much rather sit at my desk in the comfort of my own home to find my dream job and network with those I have met. But like you, I don’t think I have the guts to post a YouTube video on my profile just yet! Thanks for the advice.

I agree that social media is a great and helpful thing. There are all these benefits of being able to network with people that you might never have gotten the chance to meet in person, but I still think that there is something missing when you don’t get to meet a person face-to-face and look them in the eyes and shake their hand. Maybe it’s an old way of viewing things, but it just seems like the best way in my mind.

Considering that social media isn’t something that every company is using, how important is it really for job seekers to participate in this social media revolution?

I like the fun of being able to talk to friends via the web but I honestly don’t ever intent to use social media tools to discuss work possibilities with human resources personnel.

[…] Social Media is a Double-Edged Sword by Allison […]

You make an interesting point. I have always looked at social media as a good thing because of what it can do for a person in the “professional world.” I do think applications like LinkedIn and Twitter can help promote you in the business world. These applications can help you create a brand. The downside though, is what other people can see, use or know about you. Social media isn’t the most private thing in the world and if stalkers are out there, applications like Foursquare can be a stalkers best friend. Honestly, social media is what you make of it. Personally, my social media sites are kept professional. I try to make it a point not to let my personal life out on the internet too much.

When we were assigned the blog on social media I never thought of its hiring possibilities, only the hindrances we face with our many media accounts. Thank you for the different perspective. I took your advice and I viewed the mashable website and I think I’m going to apply some of the 7 tips, like searching for people and adding blogs that have career opportunities. I’m finally going to get a twitter, just not today. I completely agree with you on social media being a double-edged sword. While it’s great to put yourself out there it is scary that you lose a lot of your privacy too. I totally agree with Haley my resistance to social media is because of the stalkers. I’ve never had one, probably won’t have one, but who wants to risk that kind of creepiness?

[…] 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm (Uncategorized) Comment # 1 Social Media is a Double-edged Sword, Allison Almon April 8, […]

I totally agree that social media has its’ pros and cons. Although I enjoy emailing and getting on Facebook, I am not a huge computer person. I would much rather talk and interact in person, rather than through a screen. Since social networking and using programs such as LinkedIn and Twitter have become popular for companies to use, it is obviously important for students to get their names out there for any opportunity they can receive. It is definitely a double-edged sword in my eyes. It obviously is going to be smarter to be able to reach thousands of people online by social networking, than only dozens by networking yourself the old-fashioned way. Hopefully the social media tips we have received can help us in the future!

[…] “Social Media is a Double-Edged Sword” by Allison […]

Social media can be the greatest invention ever, as long as you use it properly and keep the content appropriate. When I first got my Facebook account, I never imagined the possibilities. Who knew Twitter and Facebook could help get your dream job or connect with people who would be able to help you out in your job or internship search?! People have to be so careful with what they are putting on their social media sites. You are constantly being watched and some of the posted content can be found through search engines even after they are deleted from the actual social media site. SCARY!!

[…] 8. Allison Allmond, Social Media is a double-edged sword […]

I just really like the title of the your blogs. I just wanted to say that first and foremost. You go real in-depth in the information you provide, I can tell you really took the time on these blogs. Good job! It is baffling how social media can connect you to almost any and everyone socially and professionally. The possibilities are endless. I have a Facebook, a Twitter, and a Myspace page. I don’t network professionally on my Facebook or Myspace page, but I kind of do on my Twitter. I have a Linked-In account floating around out there somewhere too. I need to maybe work on that page a little more. Your blog has made me realize I need to be more active on my Linked-In account, Thank you.

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