Social Media can be a double edged sword. Used properly, it can be a valuable tool for networking, branding, and a source of up to date information. Used improperly, it can lead to disaster.
For the sake of this post, I’ll focus on major social media outlets: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn. I know that there are other forms of social media and internet tools, but for now, I’m sticking to basics.
The most professional of the social media is LinkedIn. It’s more profile than interactive, but it’s an important profile to have. Employers are checking social media more and more when considering new employees, and LinkedIn is where many start. LinkedIn is your online CV, so make it count. You can also form connections to past, and future coworkers, so make the most of all of its features.
Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ and Twitter can be useful for following possible employer trends and getting up to date news. For the job seeker, I suggest that these social media be used more receptively, to gather information. Check privacy settings often, as Facebook is known to let it all hang out on your behalf, and clean up your social media as much as you can. Keep as much private as you can and delete or hide posts that may be less than stellar. There is a wide range of employers out there, and an even wider range of perception. Even seemingly benign posts may cost you an interview, so keep it as noncontroversial as you can.
Unless you’re really savvy, it can be very easy to post something that will drive off potential employers. Try to keep a nice gap between your professional and personal lives. I rarely post anything too personal on my Facebook or Twitter. If you have a blog and wish to promote it, create a blog-specific account and keep it professionally based. You can link professionally based social media back to your e-profile.
I can’t stress this enough. When I was a hiring manager we did look up social media, and it will cost you jobs if you aren’t careful.
Social Media can be a wonderful tool for brand promotion. In addition, knowledge of, and experience with social media can make a candidate more desirable, as more an more libraries are using social medial to reach out to patrons. In a flooded market, every skill counts and your comfort with professionally using social media can lift your application to the top of the hiring pile. In the recent past, I’ve known several job seekers in multiple fields who are specifically asked of their social media use and comfort in using it professionally. Even if you choose not to actively use social media personally or professionally, you should look into learning about it as a skill.