Today I am talking about career development and social media at a breakfast with the members of the Association of Career Professionals (ACP) in Philadelphia. The premise is fairly simple:
- A blog and online portfolio are powerful branding and conversation tools for a professional
- Companies can find choice candidates more easily through social media
- Recruiters are already using social media and networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs to find candidates
So the question is: what does it mean for a professional seeking career opportunities to have a blog and an online portfolio? How can companies recruit candidates in a more meaningful way? How do smart recruiters use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to find top talent?
Social media is perfect for career development as it allows professionals to show what they know and think, interact with peers and build connections, learn from others, find mentors, and build a personal brand - to be known. Recruitment can be an outcome of this involvement. Recruiters and to a lesser degree companies are starting to use social media to spot candidates.
But it's not an overnight thing, it's a slow process. And it can be messy, if one is not careful or does not have a personal brand strategy and goals. In addition to choosing a memorable URL, crafting a good about page and displaying contact information, consider having an RSS feed, a LinkedIn profile, a search button (I recommend Lijit) and a Creative Commons license. Other do's of social media to keep in mind when online are:
- listen actively
- create content
- give value
- build community
I'm sure you can add to this list - in fact, the ACP members would probably be grateful if you did as this post is part of the leave-behind package.
Some don'ts are:
- get lazy and copy
- be negative
- be disrespectful
The key attribute of social media to remember is that it is human and you get out of it what you put in - like everything else in life. Charles Leadbeater (author of "We-Think" -- watch his TEDtalk) said (hat tip to Bruno Giussani):
That is also valid for our careers. In the course of a career, we now hold many different positions and play diverse roles. How do we connect the dots for our current and future employers? Our customers and partners are immersed in the same kind of reality. That is how we consume business and how we should do business. As professionals, we are also products and services.
The best candidates are not usually in an active search - they are what recruiters call passively-active. If networking is important face to face, online it is an even greater proposition - with more potential that is not tied to a geographic region or a specific discipline. It is more pull than push.
Branding in a tough economy matters - maybe because we are in the "touch economy" now. We need to see, experience, interact with, and feel before we buy. One of the most important aspects of differentiation and success is developing a voice with that online presence.
What can you add to this? What are some of the roadblocks and difficulties you have encountered? What are some of the joys of social media for your professional development and career?