What goes online stays online, so be careful says CM Porter Novelli’s Angela Casey
Date: 11 September 2012 10:59
My colleague, Craig, was interviewed by the Sunday Herald last weekend. The focus of the interview and feature was whether jobseekers should have Facebook pages and be active in social media.
The reason Craig was featured was because he told the journalist how he found his job with CM Porter Novelli through social media. Fed-up with recruitment fees and keen to find only graduates with social media skills, I had “advertised” our most recent vacancy on Twitter. In the past I have found this works well at graduate level and I usually receive a bundle of emails and applications within a couple of hours. It is like speed dating, but for jobs.
For graduates trying to get into PR, Twitter offers a chocolate box of options to connect and follow the exact people who have the vacancies. In the digital age we all want employees who are conversant and savvy about social media and online networking – and the appropriateness of the various mediums. For example, where I might not consider a LinkedIn request from a graduate I have never met, I would welcome them on Twitter. So straight off we have a connection.
However, stop and think before you all rush off and connect with me on Twitter! As we all know, social media works two ways. When I get a response to one of my Twitter job ads the first thing I do is to click on the user’s identity and see what they are Tweeting about. Too flippant, lots of expletives or brainless drivel will immediately get them struck off the list. I once explained to my social media caveman of a husband how to look at Facebook pages. He immediately looked up his employees, only to find one of them listing his hobbies as “taking illicit substances and avoiding the boss”! Another time when interviewing candidates, I had the foresight to check them out on YouTube and, to my delight, found a couple of eye-opening videos of one candidate there! A very useful, and time saving, exercise.
So my point on social media for a job search is – use it wisely. Once you enter the working world you are open to scrutiny and unless you are able to have two Twitter feeds, two Facebooks, two Instagrams etc, you are now deemed a “professional” and everything you say and do in the public domain must fit with that. Of course, you can protect your Facebook, as we all should, and you can have a Twitter for your public views and a private one for the personal views from the pub, but we all know that what goes online stays there forever.
To use social media as Craig did, to find a job and then further use it to demonstrate your grasp of social and online media, is a powerful tool. But what it tells us is that it is no longer enough to have work experience and great references. These days you also need a witty and effective Twitter persona, an online accessible presentation about yourself, a blog (that is thoughtful, clever and well-written, naturally), a firm grasp of how social media integrates with PR programmes and examples of excellence in using social media to your advantage, while doing all of this in a professional manner.
So, delete the pictures of the outrageous Greek holiday, the negative comments about Big Brother and the dodgy contacts you met in a club. Spruce up your social media presence, begin talking about things pertinent to PR on your blog and social media interfaces and get ready to create and confirm your professional persona. Then start looking for the jobs.
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