Putting Social Media To Work on Your Job Hunt

Social media sites, ranging from Facebook to YouTube, are already key tools used by some professionals as part of their job hunt strategy. These include professionals in the areas of public relations, writing, sales, video editing, and customer service.

As Timothy Lee of the Cato Institute points out in Bloomberg Business Week, smart job hunters understand how to leverage all kinds of social media to showcase their persona, values, skills, and actual examples of their work.

Job searchers that are effective in their use of these tools approach social media strategically. They carefully plan what to include and what not to include in their profiles. In essence, social media has become an extension of the traditional resume and old-fashioned portfolio. Therefore, savvy job hunters wouldn't think of impulsively posting scenes from a party, unless those attending that event would be useful to feature as part of their network. The principle, of course, is "when in doubt, leave it out."

The question on the minds of more and more job hunters is this: "Should I also be strategically focused on how I present myself on my social media profiles?" The reality is that regardless of whether it's ethical or legal, many employers seem to be reviewing these sites when they receive a job application. It's what's referred to as "Googling" you.

The good news is that it's possible to enjoy social media for personal uses as well as to position and package yourself, in order to give you an edge with employers. The trick is to understand how to merge who you are with what you'd like employers to see. Shakespeare was no fool when he observed that "all the world's a stage."

In the mid 20th century, sociologist Erving Goffman described that fundamental of human interaction in his book 'The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.' Goffman demonstrated the ways in which even uneducated butchers from the provinces would present themselves in a manner that would allow their customers, vendors, hired help, enemies, and the village priest to see them in a favorable light.

For more than six years, Ana Marie Cox, former voice of the "Wonkette" on Gawker, has been managing that juggling act just right. Her employers after Gawker, ranging from Time Magazine to her current assignment at GQ, found both the personality and the kind of writing they wanted in her social media persona. Given the power and reach of social media, it doesn't seem to make sense to not put it to work on a job hunt. With the volatility of the current economy, who isn't always in the process of searching for their next opportunity?

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