Social Networks and Job Searching

Interesting food for thought from Forbes the other day, that has drawn quite a bit of attention around the online world. What Prospective Employers Hope to See in Your Facebook Account.

The chart displaying the reasons candidates were rejected has obviously gotten the most attention, but the other chart, about what they saw on a social networking profile that made them hire someone is probably more worth looking at.

The interesting thing on the reasons candidates were rejected graph, to me, was the 11% rejected due to their profiles demonstrating poor communication skills. That’s not something we really tend to think about, we tend to focus more on the wildly inappropriate photos, or comments, but it does make sense. If your resume touts your brilliant writing skills, and yet you are constantly using poor grammar in your posts, don’t seem to know the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re”, or simply can’t seem to put together a coherent sentence on your FB profile, should they believe your resume, or what you write every day? There’s nothing quite like the frustration of working with someone who cannot communicate well, and there’s nothing quite as embarrassing to an organization than an employee who cannot write professionally. Giving employers evidence that you might just be a poor, unprofessional communicator, gives them a reason to look for another candidate. In this economy, it only takes one reason to rule you out of the pile of potential hires.

On the flip side, we see that the things that employers like to see on your profile are things like good communication skills, creativity, a bit of personality, etc. Obviously, if you take the time to cultivate a more professional image on your social networks, it helps show off the skills your resume is bragging about.

In my experience, nothing says you are passionate about your field like using social networking to both learn more about, and share your own knowledge, of that field. Even more, if you are sharing information about your field, and writing about your field, prospective employers have a whole catalog of writing samples to show them just how well you can communicate in writing, about the exact topics you would be communicating about in the position. That’s not a bad thing to have out there.

Just a little something to think about the next time you post something to Twitter or Facebook, good writing matters.

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