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Facebook – and your new job

The Telegraph today reports in their job section that “companies are checking social networking sites before deciding whether to hire” .

OK – so this isn’t news to the social media savvy (in fact the apprentice candidates FB profiles proved much more enlightening than their CVs!), but worldwide research unveiled today by DDI, has put some hard stats behind interview habits.

1 in 4 interviewers checked social networking sites to find additional information and, although us Brits are doing it slightly less than many of our US and European cousins, DDI reckons that social networks will increasingly influence interview processes.

So – with the social media landscape offering the potential to win you/loose you that all important foot in the door, what should the savvy job hunter be doing . . .

First stage – recognise that everything that’s written about you in the public space is your reputation. If you have a Facebook page that you don’t want to share with potential employers – lock it down. If there’s material on Bebo you wouldn’t want to share – take it off. It’s really not rocket science.

Now let’s get proactive. If you aren’t using business social network LinkedIn then create an account. Put care and attention into creating your profile – and, just like your CV watch out for spelling/grammar errors. Use the platform to ask insightful questions to people who are already in the industry and don’t be afraid to respond to the questions posed by others – so long as you have something relevant to say.

Create a Twitter account, find people to follow within your industry or the target organisation you’re applying to and see what you can learn about the culture of the business. If they ask a question, respond to them using @. If they are talking about industry events to attend – go! (NB: please do not let this turn into a Twitter stalking session or you’ll be blocked!)

With time and commitment on your side, you could look at turning social media tools to your advantage, showcasing your talents with an insightful blog/flikr album, spreading your own message through interesting comments and links on other sites.

And for those feeling even more adventurous, use one of the many broadcast channels to produce your own show reel – either demonstrating some of your work or alternatively as a talking head to pitch for the interview.

As a digital evangelist, I know how influential social media is on brand reputations and yet i’m continually surprised that people don’t realise the effect it can have on their own personal life/career progress.

So, although this isn’t new news for us – hopefully the Telegraph/DDI will make people think twice about what they add to their social profiles when they know the boss, or perhaps the new boss, is watching.

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