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.