It is a fact. It is almost impossible today to find employment if you are not connected. Social networking and high visibility within social media sites is now necessary in order to make meaningful connections with future employers. This phenomenon will only continue to grow as our technology continues to expand in ways we cannot begin to predict or understand. Gone are the days (almost) of newspaper advertisements. Most companies place their “help wanted” ads on their websites. Other companies use online job boards to post their openings where a larger audience will view them. When I am looking for employees, I do both.
I expect potential employees to make contact with our site via email and send me an appropriate cover letter and resume. If I am interested in the person and they are close enough to travel, then I invite them to an in-person interview. Otherwise, interviews take place via Skype. If a teacher advances to the stage when we want to see a sample lesson, they either come in person or upload a video to YouTube.
This past year I hired one of our best teachers this way. I had advertised for a HS English teacher on multiple local online job boards and community notice services, as well as on our website. This generated a wealth of resumes, none of which had the qualifications I was looking for when filling the position (lots of ELL or ESL teachers who think that qualifies them for teaching AP HS English). Finally, in an act of total desperation (true confession here) I got on my personal Facebook account (I have one for the school community and one for my personal and family friends). On my personal account I put out a desperate plea, “Does ANYONE know of a qualified HS English teacher that might want to come teach at my school? If so, please contact me ASAP!” “I am a nice boss, really I am” – Okay, maybe I did not add the last sentence, but the rest was true! Within hours I had a response, “Hey there, it is your buddy from college, my roommate is a great teacher and looking for a new opportunity.” It was about one month later when I offered said roommate the contract (after Skype interviews and sample lessons uploaded to YouTube). Our school now has a dynamic, well-qualified English teacher who has been a great fit for our community. Thank you Facebook!!!
The amazing thing is that, without Facebook, this would have never unfolded. I lost track of my college friend as we both moved on with our lives. Once Facebook became the fad and addiction that it is, we were connected through people we had each stayed in closer contact with. One day I “friended” her and our relationship was limited to “liking” each other’s posts and photos – until this opportunity emerged. Without Facebook, I never would have gotten this message to that particular person….. the connection was completely dependent on the wonders of social media.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, etc. are all ways to build important networks for ourselves. These networks can be great social support systems, but can also challenge us to grow professionally and can connect us with peers who are able to connect us with new opportunities for growth. This is highly advantageous.
CAUTION – BEWARE
My one caution for people using social media is to really be careful what they put up online where. While it was a gift to hire someone via Facebook, I have also “googled” multiple potential staff members and chosen to NOT interview individuals based on what I find online. If I see a potential employee with many drunk photos on their Facebook site, they are not about to get an interview with me. Therefore, my other piece of advice is to monitor what you put in cyberspace, particularly in public locations. Set profiles to private and make a delineation between your personal and professional lives. Get two Facebook accounts – one for your professional contacts and one for your casual communication with friends and family. Use social networking to your advantage, do not let it damage you.
Today, 17 days ’til 40, I am so thankful for social networking sites – not only have they brought me great employees, they enable me to keep in touch with good friends and family across the miles, as well as make new friends who mean so much to me. Some have accused Facebook of being an evil time sucker, but I am so glad that I can communicate with my family more often because of it.
February 4, 2013 at 00:15
You are so right! I’ve been telling my kids for a long time to use every resource to promote themselves, and to be very careful of what is already on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
February 4, 2013 at 23:32
February 4, 2013 at 01:09
February 4, 2013 at 23:31
February 4, 2013 at 04:49
Reblogged this on MetaRead360 Small Press presents and commented:
So true…I love LinkedIn for job connections!
February 4, 2013 at 23:30
February 4, 2013 at 05:42
Excellent post – I agree that social media can be incredibly useful in networking, and it’s definitely a way to stay in touch with people you would have otherwise lost touch with. I recently rediscovered an alumni group on LinkedIn, which has resulted in some great contacts for my job search, and enabled me to catch up with a few friends I hadn’t been in touch with for many, many years.
Your warning about what to put on Facebook is also very appropriate – I have definitely seen things posted that I would not want an employer to see. My personal rule of thumb is not to post anything I wouldn’t want my mother to see on Facebook. For me, this is easier than worrying about which messages are visible to which audiences.
February 4, 2013 at 23:30
Thanks so much for your great comment! Great point re: your mother (it works for most, unless their mothers are not very conservative, then it can be interesting!
February 4, 2013 at 16:04
simply put…social media has good and bad points…it is all in how person uses it!
February 4, 2013 at 23:29
Another Thousand Words
February 4, 2013 at 17:53
Excellent and informative, 400…very glad to hear about the new English teacher. I’m guessing here, but social media sites seem to be a means of learning more about a prospective employee, yet they also allow for a ‘prejudicial’ assessment, do they not?
February 4, 2013 at 23:28
Thanks! You are correct, the media sites can cause a bias when people are viewing them – I think they can be helpful in making connections for jobs and also for learning about someone who may not be a good fit for an organization.
Another Thousand Words
February 5, 2013 at 03:49
Helpful in many ways, and not helpful in many others–such a difficult choice. Hopefully, employers will use their intelligence, and not just ‘fall’ for a pretty face…or a square jawline!
February 5, 2013 at 23:40
Another Thousand Words
February 6, 2013 at 03:13
Keep smiling, 400…always!
February 4, 2013 at 21:40
Thank you for your wealth of information. I am currently ‘building’ my social network connections and I’m having the time of my life. Thanks to WordPress, I have now met you!
February 4, 2013 at 23:26
Yes! Isn’t it so much fun to build connections this way??? 🙂
February 5, 2013 at 05:05
Even some people’s email addresses are not always work appropriate. Have two of those as well, one for work, one for play.
February 5, 2013 at 23:39
Ah, yes, what a good point! I have encountered many of those in my profession – from prospective teachers and from parents!
February 5, 2013 at 06:10
Very true… but be careful… I think it’s illegal to make employment decisions based upon what someone posts online… obviously it wouldn’t be the reason you give, but just being open about it could cause you problems further on down the road…
February 5, 2013 at 23:39
Hmmm – good questions. As you say, there are always more reasons one can give….. but that is interesting, isn’t it – that an employer could be harmed by obtaining online information and using it – seems as though something is off with the system on some levels…
February 5, 2013 at 08:42
Reblogged this on Corporate Skirts and commented:
Loved this post. Very true and very effective.
February 5, 2013 at 23:37
February 5, 2013 at 16:27
I don’t agree what the social media will help us to get jobs – but I think to attend to “get together’s” … and seminars is a great way. I think more and more people are giving up on the social media as FB and Twitter. Of course the personal connection .. people that know people are very important.
It seams like you have been lucky .. to find suitable staff over FB – I would never use FB for finding staff, don’t ask me why.
February 5, 2013 at 23:36
It is amazing how many people I know who got jobs as a result of social networking – times are really changing!
February 6, 2013 at 15:21
Yes, and that is brilliant … because there isn’t much work around anywhere today – to many bidding on the same jobs. Feel sorry for the young.
February 6, 2013 at 22:14
I love this. Thank you for sharing!
February 6, 2013 at 23:23
February 15, 2013 at 19:47
The opening comment, if it’s interpreted as referring to personal contacts, endorsements and “likes” rather than being on an electronic jobfinder list, is not true in the public sector or the voluntary sector in the UK and one reason is the danger of indirect discrimination. It’s also not true if the job you’re going for is manual rather than professional or managerial.
It is true that as with other things, the internet puts far more people in contact with one another than would otherwise be possible.
February 15, 2013 at 21:46
I suppose it depends on what country you are from and how strong your networks are….
February 26, 2013 at 19:28
and what the job is.