Socialize for the Job You Want

August 14, 2012 6:00 pm Published by Joshua Jones

Most of us have heard the old adage “dress for the job you want,” but only a select few realize that we should also socialize for the job we want. In the office, it is good practice to understand how professionals in senior roles achieved their success. Likewise, in social media, it makes sense to determine how the successful players build their reputations. Allow me to compare jumping into the social media swimming pool to interviewing for a job, then starting work at a new company.

On the day of the interview, you want to make sure you dress the part. The day before, you should make the essential preparations by making sure your suit is dry cleaned, preparing a matching tie and shirt combination, and polishing your shoes. Picking an avatar for your social networks, e.g., LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, is essentially the same as picking a suit. This is going to be your outward presentation to the world, and it can communicate volumes without saying anything at all. Your avatar should convey approachability and be aligned with how successful people in your industry appear.

When positioning yourself for a new job, having a solid resume is key. In social media, your profile bio acts as a brief resume. Include your name, your specialties, strengths, and where you work. Although including personal information on resumes is frowned upon, putting a small piece of personal information (“avid Red Sox fan”) on a social media bio will make you seem more human and social.

Honesty in your career is essential. We’ve all seen what happens when highly visible professionals lie on their resumes. On your resume, all dates, facts, and accomplishments should align. The same goes for your social media profiles. Make sure the information on your LinkedIn account matches that on all of your other accounts. Inconsistency—even a slightly different date between profiles—will raise eyebrows.

Nine times out of ten, an interviewer will ask a candidate if he or she has any questions at the end of the interview. Countless candidates have lost opportunities because they failed to make interesting inquiries about the position. Ask questions—intelligent ones! Carry this conduct into the social media world. Requesting insight will open dialogue, convey approachability, and, make you seem more human—and more humble.

Now, let’s say you interview at the company of your dreams and you land the job. Your next task is to assimilate into the company’s culture. Similarly, in social media, make sure the tone of your content and interaction is similar to that of your online connections (if the mood is serious, don’t be the class clown). Typically, sites like LinkedIn tend to be more conservative and professional. This is not the place to post what you had for lunch, or that your son’s baseball team won district. However, Twitter or Facebook may be a more appropriate venue. Personally, my LinkedIn profile is strictly professional; my Facebook profile is more playful (but I still refrain from posting anything risqué), and my Instagram content is about half-and-half professional and personal.

Both in an interview and in your use of social media, revealing personality while maintaining professionalism and etiquette is best practice. Think before you speak and be aware that your actions and comments are being judged and assessed. Landing the right job can elevate or blemish your career, and likewise, as trivial as it may seem, your social media presence can boost or damage your online reputation.
This post appears as part of our Social Recruiting Guest blogger series, during which we’ll be bringing you different perspectives from many different players in the social recruiting world. Look out for posts over the next several weeks to stay in the loop!

This post was written by Joshua Jones