“This is a suspicious man”, I told my partner as we were browsing through résumés of potential employees or co-founders for our startup. “How comes?”, said my brother, “he strikes me as an experienced techie, very impressive resume, mentions all the terms we need…”. “Yes, but I can’t find any social networking info about him. That’s suspicious”.
For a minute there was silence. If my brother was here, next to me, and not beyond the sea, in New York, he would probably be staring at me, with the look of “are you for real?” – one lifted eyebrow. But as he was at the other end of a transatlantic phone call I was spared the look.
The silence was disturbed as one of my Facebook contacts sent me an online message about a coming event. As I replied my brother said: “You know what, not everybody has the time to manage a proper online presence. That doesn’t mean he isn’t the professional for us”. “No way”, I said, “Our venture is all about social networking. If this person isn’t a social networking animal we are going to waste tons of time just explaining things to him”.
As this resume was dropped to the floor* and we moved to discuss the next candidate I started to think. Can someone looking for a job, especially technology or marketing related job, afford to not have a properly managed online presence? I can’t take seriously anyone from a tech related profession who isn’t taking part in any type of social networking. It’s like a thing of the past. Who wants a thing of the past when you are looking to move forward?
So here are some tips to job seekers, from someone who is a co-founder/CTO seeker, about some minimum social networking expectations and requirements:
1- LinkedIn – the number one professional social network. Put your résumé online, don’t forget to connect to colleagues, bosses, team members, clients and suppliers to create your work network. Make sure you connections are visible – what we look are mutual acquaintances. Make sure you do not connect with people who may speak badly of you. Try to get references from any connection who can speak nicely of you, first from those people who are widely connected and have strong network presence. Don’t forget to upload a photo. Yes, we do want to know how you look, so when we set up a meeting at a coffee place we can recognize you. The photo has to show your face clearly – a full body on a 40 pixel image is ridiculous – and it will better be up to date, not a 10 year old photo from when you were a lot thinner.
2. Facebook – yes the face photo is probably the first thing you should upload here. Your short version of a resume can also come here – but it’s not a must. The most important thing about Facebook is the connections, the social network you create. Don’t think “the more the merrier” because that’s not true. When I see people with more then 400 connection I doubt the quality of every connection on their list. Make sure you connect with those people who can reference you and even better – if you connect to people who can help you land that next job.
An important tool on Facebook is the events. If you haven’t been invited to any event yet, go into the events application and look for friends’ events. Some might be informal like parties, drinks, breakfasts. Other might be professional – conferences, unconferences, workshops, and others might be social networking events like meetups and group meetings. Choose only relevant groups. Ask your friends for their recommendations. You can start with free events. There are plenty of those and they are not any less effective then paid events.
3. Status updates and Twitter. If you are unfamiliar with social networking or feel you don’t have the time – don’t do it. No status updates, nor Twitter. It’s not necessary. Start by simply following, about once a day, the various updates of your friends and their friends – your relevant network.
What are status updates good for?
You will discover that potential employers publish their want ads first as a status update. Sometimes your friends will re-publish, or re-tweet, a want ad by a friend.
You will also learn how to publish your availability to the potential audience. But don’t rush into it. First follow others to learn what sounds right and what sounds out of place in this new medium called social networking.
**PS: the story is half fictional, for my own literary pleasure I tend to exaggerate. However the guide is 100% true.