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Our profiles on various social media can help or hinder our job searches. Large, sophisticated companies may well be trawling LinkedIn looking for talent and we’d be well advised to ensure that our profile is looking professional and to include key words that relate to the opportunities we want to attract.

However, smaller businesses are, thankfully, still using traditional techniques to find good people. Personal recommendations are the best and cheapest way for companies to hire. After that, firms will try advertising in the media and using recruitment agencies and it’s when those applications are being screened that a savvy recruiter will start snooping about, googling the candidates to help form the all-important short-list for interviewing.

An applicant with a fabulous curriculum vitae or application form could easily find themselves in the “NO B4 INTERVIEW” pile once the recruiter has taken a look at their drunken antics, whinges or even their poor spelling on Facebook . The employer is looking for someone decent to join their team. If the real-life profile doesn’t match up to the person described on the application form, what’s a recruiter supposed to think?

So, is this a lesson in managing our privacy settings? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. If a recruiter cannot find out about a candidate online, does that make them more likely to invite that person for an interview? Or, might they wonder what they have to hide? Could it send out the signal that the applicant is not computer literate after all, despite what it says in the cv?

The truth is that recruiters are human too and therefore, each one will have their own take on this. Of course, we don’t know what their reaction will be, we can only guess. For me, if I was researching a candidate, I’d want to see an open, friendly individual with a sense of humour and a good work ethic. Someone who’s sharing something positive online, rather than using social media as a way to vent their frustrations and anger.  No whining, no swearing, no nastiness.

It’s also inappropriate, not to mention demeaning, to beg for work, no matter how desperate the search for work is becoming. A recent example from LinkedIn:  “Hiya Everyone, I am still on the search for a new job role. There must be someone out there who needs an experienced and skilled Sales Manager like myself? Get in touch please.” 

A  beggar on a street corner is unlikely to be given a thousand pounds and this job seeker will not be receiving job offers. It’s all about networking. He should talk to his connections, privately. Get to know people, ask for introductions. He could research some companies that he would like to work with and follow them on LinkedIn or Google+. Start to take part in discussions. Eventually, he may get to hear of an opening or even be recommended for a position.

Remember: Personal recommendation is the best and cheapest way for companies to hire.

The great news is that it’s simple to clean up a dodgy looking profile and with some careful planning and a dose of confidence, social media should be only one part of a successful job search strategy. Face to face networking is arguably more important and having the chutzpah to contact businesses directly about opportunities can be a fantastic short-cut.

I’d love to hear what you think about this subject. What experiences have you had? What challenges are you facing? You can leave comments below or please feel free to email me:   jenner_louise1@me.com

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