Facebook and your job search.

Would you ever use a Facebook job search platform? For a while now its been rumored that Facebook is considering starting their own job search platform, but I doubt many people would use it. Especially when a professional networking site already exists, LinkedIn, and you can already search for jobs on there. Most people should keep their Facebook profile completely separated from their job search; unless, of course, you’re applying for a job at social media agency or digital marketing firm. If this is the case, keep it appropriate because many employers use Facebook to look up job candidates for reasons why they shouldn’t hire them.

If you think your Facebook profile is hurting your chances of being hired for a job you have two options. First option, you can censor what pictures you allow yourself to be tagged in and what friends can post on your wall through your privacy settings. On top of that, make sure you’re not posting anything inappropriate or too political; if you’re friends with your grandma on Facebook then you’re probably good. Second option, you can leave your profile the same and make it completely private. In your privacy settings profiles can be made searchable and unable to view by anyone who is not a “friend”.

LinkedIn is your best bet for professional networking, but take the precautions stated above. If a potential employer decides to search you online you don’t want them to see or read anything that could hinder your chances of being hired.

Social Media, Politics, and You

Many researchers and journalists, such as Matthew Fraser and David Carr, believe that social media was the factor that pushed President Obama past John McCain in the 2008 election. But this presidential election is a little bit different: social media has been around longer, everyone is more used to it, and more people are using it.  So how exactly has social media changed the game of politics and the 2012 presidential election?

Must Have a Presence
Candidates, local and national, have to have a social media presence in order to win an election. This is how today’s society connects with each other, and is the easiest and most effective way for a candidate to build a relationship with voters. Right now Romney and Obama are both using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and blogs to connect with the public.

Long Term Memory
Not only will comments made by the candidates through social networks never really disappear from the Internet, every comment they make through any medium, good or bad, will never completely go away. They will always be able to be found through social media; the Internet never forgets.

Instantaneous Reactions
Also, because of our ability to tweet, retweet, share, and post content all over social networks, everything moves much faster. Campaigns can respond to negative advertisements and comments made by opposition immediately through their networks. On the other side of that, if a candidate or someone within their party makes an offensive comment that can also go viral in a matter of moments.

As the campaign has already shown social media can both help and hinder candidates. Who do you think is winning the digital campaign?

Another social media site – Quora

I know what you may be thinking, “Oh great, another website about social media,” and after reading about what this new website, Quora, has to offer, I would consider it an unnecessary addition to the world wide web. Quora could offer some valuable information, but the whole website appears unorganized and pointless.

The new site calls itself a “continuing collection of questions and answers created, edited and organized by everyone that uses it.” Sounds great, right? The idea appears to be helpful, but in reality, it is, as I said before, unorganized. To offset this organization, Quora’s search function is top notch; you ask a specific questions, you get great material in return. Imagine this site as Wikipedia for questions; people ask questions and experts answer appropriately. The search results on Quora come up with the “Best Answer” and “Best Answerer” categories, which allows you to retrieve the best answer to your question.

So what exactly is Quora best used for? For one, networking; you are being connected with experts in the field you are curious about. The site also helps out with possible blog ideas. If you’re stuck on what to write about, check Quora to browse what content people are asking about the most lately. Although this site seems great, LinkedIn Answers is definitely better if you are interested in a more professional answer. Quora also reveals that there certainly is such a thing as a “dumb question,” so if I were you, I’d stick to LinkedIn for your question and answer needs.

The Real (Digital) World

As a current student at Michigan State University, one subject of intense interest to myself and my fellow students is graduation, and how to prepare for it. Taking those first steps from university to the real world can be intimidating, and many current students are unsure of how to make a smooth transition from co-ed to corporate. How can current college students take charge of their digital personas and put them to work for themselves?

My first piece of advice would be to Google yourself, and look carefully at the results. They might display one of several things:

  1. That article you wrote for the high school paper
  2. Pictures of you from last year’s spring break in Cancun
  3. Nothing at all.

Whatever comes up about you, don’t despair – while high school accomplishments aren’t bad, they aren’t really current and don’t display all of the hard work you’ve been (hopefully) doing in college. While certainly great keepsakes, your spring break pictures don’t really convey a sense of professionalism. If you’re not coming up in search results, maybe you’ve kept a low profile, but isn’t it better to be proactive rather than reactive?

Is this what you want employers to remember about you?

Is this what you want employers to remember about you?

Take charge of your search results! Make a great impression when employers are looking to learn more about you, instead of keeping them in the dark about what a great candidate you would be for that newly-available position. To do this, create some professional profiles for yourself on sites like LinkedIn, Naymz, ZoomInfo, and AboutUs. Make sure that the information you offer up in these profiles is professional and highlights the skills that will help you find the job you want. The Washington Post offers some tips on what to include or keep private on your LinkedIn profile that can be applied to other social media sites.

Part of making the most of your online reputation is keeping some things out of the public eye – for those profiles that are more social than professional, you may want to restrict your privacy settings to make yourself invisible in search results. Facebook offers an option to take yourself out of search engine results, found in the Privacy Settings tab. If you’re proud of your Facebook profile, and think that it passes professional muster, you can also use this feature to create a public search listing for yourself – just make sure your profile isn’t going to keep employers from hiring you.

We’ve all heard about how your digital identity can work against you, but by showcasing your great features in a professional way, you too can feel confident with your online reputation. Social networking doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, so you might as well make sure that your online image makes an excellent impression.

In today’s working world, employers are starting to embrace social networking as a time-saving, financially savvy way to keep their employees connected, according to USA Today, and as a college student or recent grad you will almost be expected to be a social networking guru. Make sure that you exceed the expectations and enhance both your digital and professional reputations.

Boosting your online presence

You may not be aware of it, but the way you present yourself on the internet matters. It doesn’t matter if you are a recent graduate, a professional with years of experience or still a student, but dedicating a little attention to your online presence can boost your possibilities of promoting and getting a new job.

There are many social networking sites on the internet. Great tools for promoting yourself online are specialized sites like LinkedIn, which focus on professional networking, or Naymz, which focus on creating a reputational network of people that may potentially refer you. Other sites that you may want to check are AboutUs.org, where you can create a professional profile within your company one, and ZoomInfo, a professional directory where you want to have your profile.

The problem with online networking is not if you use it, but mainly the way you use it. The main difference between these specialized sites and your MySpace or Facebook account is that the specialized sites give you little option to include information that you do not want other people to find about, while MySpace and Facebook do. The main thing with these two sites is that you may be giving an image of yourself that may be cool and fun among your friends, but that is clearly inappropriate in a professional environment. Is not only that your employer (current or prospective, it does not matter) is going to Google you, but they may also look for your information in these social networking websites.

I found via Scott Monty’s The Social Media Blog that according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 80% of the employers Google you, and 20% of them is getting into the social networking sites to learn more about you. Their main areas of concern are the following:

  1. Information about alcohol or drug use (41% consider this a top concern)
  2. Inappropriate photos or information posted on a candidate’s page (40%)
  3. Poor communication skills (29%)
  4. Bad-mouthing of former employers or fellow employees (28%)
  5. Inaccurate qualifications (27%)
  6. Unprofessional screen names (22%)
  7. Notes showing links to criminal behavior (21%)
  8. Confidential information about past employers (19%)

In other words, and among many other things, you may not want to post pictures of the last time you got drunk (especially if you are underage), and you may consider changing your screen name from JoeSixPack to maybe your real name/last name.

Finally, just try to think that your online presence may be as valid as your real-world presence, and that no one is anonymous on the net anymore, so you want to make your online profiles look as good as possible

Digital Media: Utilizing it to your Advantage

Digital media is becoming more and more prevalent as we venture forward into the future. As a college student, I find myself utilizing digital media more frequently every day. Most people do not realize how useful digital media is. Not only can it help you post your resume, network, and contact potential employers it can also help you find anything from an apartment, to a television, even a roommate.

College students, especially those who are graduating or have just graduated can use websites like Linkedin, Naymz, AboutUs and other various websites to create an online profile and post their resume. Vast amounts of employers then have the ability to view your resume and learn whatever you want them to know about you. It’s simple, fast, easy and expands you job and networking opportunities.

Not only college students, but advanced professionals as well can utilize digital media. Whether your company is new or matured, getting your name out there can greatly advance your business and networking options. Now I can understand that there are a lot of business professionals out there who do not have an adequate amount of time to spend on the computer on a daily basis. So why not safe yourself the time and tedious work and have someone else take care of everything? This is where Social Harbor comes in. Social Harbor is a professional profile management company. For a small fee, they will create an online profile that is current, SEO optimized and completely safe and secure.  It’s as easy as that.

Although digital media is something that is usually a positive thing, it does, like anything else, have its negative aspects. A concern of digital media is always privacy issues. Getting your name and information posted all over the internet can possibly turn into a negative thing; however, I can’t help but think about all the times I’ve used the internet to search for jobs, internships, people or other various sources of information. Throughout the years I have been informed of jobs and even my current internship because of the internet. I have also come into contact with old friends, searched for an apartment and have known people who even found their roommate using digital media. Even websites such as www.ratemystudentrental.com allow you to research housing throughout your campus, review ratings and pick which one suits your best interest. Although privacy will always be a concern, I can vouch from personal experience that as long as you are cautious with what you are doing the risks can be slim to none.  Just remember to be aware of what you are getting yourself into and what you are posting for others to view.

In this day and age digital media is almost impossible to not take advantage.  College students especially can utilize it to their advantage in addition to business professionals. Digital media can be used as a business tool or a source of information. Its possibilities and opportunities are endless. So  for all you up-and-coming graduates, current students and even business professionals, go ahead and explore the world of digital marketing if you already haven’t. It is what you make of it, and that could possibly result in something extremely valuable.

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Social Media

It’s somewhat ironic that it’s now important to utilize social media websites to create a professional image online. As with most cultural phenomena that start out below the radar, social networking has now become mainstream and highly commercialized. The extreme case is MySpace, which is now more of a business model (i.e. – intended to sell things to you) than a networking model. But really, social media started as an outgrowth of the strange allure of AOL chat rooms. In fact, the first social site that I can remember hearing about was Hot Or Not. The concept was as simple as you may have already guessed. People load a portrait of themselves, and the audience rates the person’s “hotness” on a scale from one to 10. There wasn’t much interacting, but it was essentially a Web 2.0 concept. The audience contributes to the site and provides reviews for the “content.”

I heard about that site in 2002. Needless to say, a lot has changed in the past six years. By 2005 people started realizing that they need to exercise at least some caution about what they post on these websites, even if it is semi-anonymous. For individuals getting a kick out of the brave new world that the Internet offered, this wasn’t always a fun realization. Some sites did choose to protect the adventurous nature of the web. By 2007, Facebook had ramped up their security features, so that you can specify what parts of your profile will be visible to which people.

Still, the Internet feels a lot different now. Pretty much all our online activities can be traced to us in some way. That makes us more accountable for our actions, and, in some cases, more cautious. I’m confident that the benefits of the Internet will always outweigh any possible disadvantages. And even as things do change, being web savvy allows you to take advantage of the system. Students and recent graduates are in a position to utilize social media to the fullest potential. I didn’t hear about LinkedIn until early 2008, but now it seems to be the number one professional networking site on the web.

The best way for graduates to utilize social media is to stay on top of the wave. Being familiar and practiced with the sites and services as they become standard will make you a desireable employee in this increasingly digital world. Take our internship for example. In the first week we worked with blogs, LinkedIn, Naymz, AboutUs.org, and ZoomInfo, to name a few. If graduates show that they can capitalize on the emerging technologies and tools, they won’t miss the best of the surf.

This also means minimizing or hiding the “recreational” activities like Hot Or Not. If you wouldn’t enter a hot body contest at your local pub, maybe it’s best to follow suit in cyberspace.

Politics and Social Networking

Social Networking and politics are developing a strong relationship during this current presidential race. The use of social networking as a tool to get votes is not new; social networking sites were already used by the candidates in 2004, but they were not given the importance that they have now.

So what has changed? In the first place, social networking sites were not as popular as they are now. Also, the candidates were not so active in the social networking and their profiles were more an extension of their campaign websites. Facebook now has more than 100 million users, and the more professional focused network, LinkedIn, already counts 24 million users. Politicians are also realizing that they can also get votes through using these social networking sites, as they allow them to interact with potential voters and let them be perceived as someone closer than the candidate we only see on the news. Regarding this matter, Barack Obama has asked two questions using the Questions and Answers service of LinkedIn: “What ideas do you have to keep America competitive in the years ahead?” which already has 3,108 responses and “How can the next president better help small business and entrepreneurs thrive?” which at this time has 1,493 answers.

The Obama campaign has also launched my.barackobama.com, a social networking site similar to Facebook for Obama supporters, where you can connect with your friends, create events and even create your own blog.

In many senses the Obama campaign seems to be more connected with social networking and in my opinion is doing a better job than the McCain campaign. I was able to find Barack Obama on LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Myspace and Twitter. I was only able to find John McCain on LinkedIn, Facebook and Myspace.

I am not sure on how the social networking efforts of both candidates will be reflected in the elections results, but at this time, if we took Facebook as a reference, Barack Obama has 1,791,490 supporters, while John McCain has “only” 332,949 supporters. However, the main problem with these numbers is that the number of potential voters among these supporters is unknown, and if you look carefully you will notice many teenagers that are not able to vote yet and also many foreigners. If these results will have a reflection on the real elections, only time will tell.

Activities At Ingenex

In my short time here at Ingenex I have already learned a great deal about the digital marketing world. It all started with self-branding. What is that you ask? Self-branding in the digital world is basically just getting your name out there, creating an online presence. There are many ways to do this, starting with avenues such as LinkedIn and AboutUs, you can create professional profiles. These new pages on the internet are searchable in all major search engines, letting you control what potential clients/leads may read about you.

Another very useful tool Derek has taught us is the manner of linking, or intertwining, these new pages. Once there are credible links going in and out of your pages, you have now become even more easily searchable on the vast web. If you do a good enough job optimizing the words on your page, even Google will recognize it with their Page Rank system. Keep things concise and professional, but be informative as possible.

Creating profiles on the two pages listed above, as well as starting (and maintaing) a blog, is a great beginning to your new digital presence. Try WordPress to get your blog going, and be sure to link all of these new sites together (insert a link to your new blog and AboutUs page in your LinkedIn profile, etc.).

You’ve just got your feet wet in the exciting world of Social Media Marketing (SMM), a form of internet marketing used to achieve branding (you are self-branding) through participation in social media networks. Don’t stop there! Continue to build out your pages, and explore additional channels for you to gain more recognition on the internet.