Career Advice

Is Social Media Crippling Your Job Search Efforts?

As a guest speaker on TalentCulture’s inaugural Twitter Chat radio show Tuesday evening, I partnered with Matt Charney, Social Media Engagement Manager of Monster Worldwide to discuss the topic of job search myths. Misconceptions thrashed out included (but weren’t limited to):

  • Currently employed candidates being preferable;
  • Gaps in employment making a candidate undesirable; and,
  • Over-50 job seekers being over the hill.

Unfortunately, each of these myths could be construed both as a truth and a myth, depending upon how you viewed it.

Myths Are Actually Obstacles That Job Seekers Can Push Through

In my opinion, many of these myths (i.e., obstacles) job seekers face could be eradicated through a series of job search strategy makeovers. Instead, it seems, we often focus on the fault of the economy, the companies doing the hiring, recruiters, human resources and hiring decision makers for the decline in interviews, often pointing to discriminatory factors, such as being too old or being unemployed.

Though such factors clearly exist, I firmly believe that if job seekers took a closer look at what they may do differently to ignite their job search, they would find a wealth of opportunity to turn their situation around, despite the heaving economy, governmental woes and unfortunate situations occurring in recruiting, human resources or (insert the recipient of your disdain here).

In a defining moment during the radio program, Charney said something radical.  He expressed that too many job seekers focus their time, effort and energy on social media (Tweeting, Facebook posting, etc.) and not enough time on the traditional aspects of search. This includes preparing a great resume and cover letter. I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s what I recall hearing.

Of course, as a Master Resume Writer, my ears perked, and I exclaimed, “Hear hear!” I passionately believe (and have witnessed in action) that the traditional, foundational resume can be a golden key to fortifying your job search. So very many job seekers get lost in the maze of social media magic that they feel if they ‘authentically express themselves’ in this venue they will get to grab the golden ring of interviewing.

Opportunities to Propel Your Job Search Forward

By doing so, they miss two important and potentially critical steps in job search and, I daresay, as a result, cripple their career search efforts.

1)     Doing what’s required of them by 99% of all companies, recruiters, hiring decision makers, board members, executives – anyone who may have a hand in interviewing and hiring you, which is: Write a meaningful, well-articulated and compelling resume that not only asserts your ‘greatest achievements’ and wonderfulness, but filters your accomplishments stories through their (your target audience’s) needs and speaks to the heart of their pain. In other words, you persuasively showcase how you will bring in more clients, expand the company’s marketplace, trim costs, increase revenues and boost profits. NOT spending the time and effort on a triple-threat resume (and cover letter) will, in most cases, sink your resume to the bottom of the stack.

2)     Undergoing the process of listening to your future employer’s needs, and then going inward to introspect: Drill deep into your career underbelly to dig up and bring to light those prized stories that have given your career traction and momentum to-date.  These are the stories that add meat—an overall richness—to your resume that a reader can sink his teeth into versus having to stumble through your various and loosely connected social media musings and profiles.  You MUST succinctly, and within one, targeted resume document, connect the dots for the reader — WHY they should call you in for an interview. It’s as simple as that!

Fan Your Traditional Resume Into the Social Networking Spokes

Don’t get me wrong, I am an AVID social media / social networking user, especially as it pertains to Twitter, where I am considered a power user, but also on LinkedIn, Facebook and now, Google+. Across these platforms, if you are handling yourself diplomatically and punctuating your communications with a bit of flair and focus, you can definitely magnetize others to you and accentuate your career goals.

In other words, these platforms are notorious for building new connections, creating and expanding your visibility through multiple channels and providing a global audience to which to toot your horn while also being a go-giver to others. A multiplicity of social media experts and coaches are available to help you strategize your social media presence, as an adjunct to your resume portfolio. I even do my part by providing social media coaching and writing social media profiles for my clients to ensure they are well represented, thereto.

My point today, though, is this: Start with a phenomenal resume and cover letter, and from there, fan out your message to the many spokes of the social media wheel.  In fact, include your key social media profile links on your resume. Just don’t spend all of your time and energy tootling around the virtual highway. You may realize that, after months of travel, you run out of fuel and go sputtering into a dead end, a career to nowhere.