Anyone who wants to jump in here and correct me is more than welcome to do so, but I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of misconceptions about the value of social media in your job search.
Let me be clear that I strongly recommend you have as complete a LinkedIn profile as you can. Keep your listing up to date and make sure it is completely consistent with your resume. Anything you publish about yourself can and very likely will be checked by some compulsive in the Human Resources department. A significant difference can derail you getting a perfectly good job, and you will never know what hit you.
I would also strongly recommend that if you have a Facebook page, that you delete all references to reckless behavior of any kind. If you are into anything that requires an explanation, don’t put it on Facebook. Should you be so lucky as to be considered for a senior level job, trust me, the wrong people are likely to find such a reference, and NOT ask for an explanation.
LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for finding all of the non-financial people you have known over the course of your career. Any financial people, you are more likely to find by using our very own Member Directory search feature, which you may find at http://thefeng.org/membersonly/memberSearch.php. You just need to sign in to use it, and I hope you will.
If you have a Twitter account, please Tweet responsibly. I would also suggest that you make it possible to identify who you are. I can’t begin to tell you how many folks are following me, and I have NO clue from their Twitter account who the heck they are. Someone someday should explain the “meaning and purpose” of being invisible. (And I thought you could run, but you couldn’t hide.)
Now to the urban legend that being on LinkedIn is going to get you a job. Yes and no. The no part is that unless you have some arcane skill that is detailed in your profile, the odds are slim to none that anyone is going to “find” you on LinkedIn doing a dynamic search. And, even assuming that someone was searching LinkedIn for an arcane skill that you had, what are the odds the job is at a level that you would find of interest and/or in a location that you and your family would find acceptable? Friends, it is close to zero. Have folks been “found” on LinkedIn? Most likely yes or there wouldn’t be an urban legend about it. Will you be found, or more importantly, should you rely on being found? Absolutely not. (My strong recommendation is networking, networking and more networking.)
The benefit of having a social media presence is that I can take some of the risk out of meeting you by doing a little research and typing your name into Google. Anyone on whom I can’t find anything is more than a little suspect. (Do they really exist?) In addition to taking some of the risk out of meeting you, your social media presence enables me to have a more productive meeting with you when we finally do meet by knowing more about you. As they say, your reputation precedes you.
Social media is a tool. As I lectured my children when they were growing up and now my grandchildren, all tools are dangerous. Some tools are more dangerous than others. Social media ranks right up there with chainsaws.
Use properly, social media can enhance the perception of you out in the world, or it can destroy it in a heartbeat.
Those who would like to comment should send their thoughts to Leads@TheFENG.org so Leslie can publish them in our Notes From Members section. If you don’t want your name published, be sure to make that clear for our: “Social Media – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”