Think Before You Tweet

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have significantly changed the job search landscape; in most ways, for the better. However, as demonstrated in today’s New York Times, there are definite pitfalls.  The article focuses on the problems that can arise in a corporate marketing environment and the impact ill-advised tweets can have on an organization’s reputation. The same risks exist for job seekers.

As a job seeker, you are marketing yourself — your personal brand — to employers.  You do not want to do or say anything that jeopardizes your brand.  Most people assume that only applies to a job-search and/or interviewing situation.  And for the most part it does.  However, in the new world of social media, your exposure increases exponentially.  Social media sites — Twitter, in particular — encourage users to post spontaneous thoughts and observations.  And too many people do, without giving it a second thought. The danger of continuing this type of unfettered and uncensored communication is that a prospective employer may find it. Even the most innocuous post can lead to trouble because prospective employers don’t have any context with which to interpret it, so they will interpret it in whatever way they see fit, and that way may not reflect kindly on your candidacy.

A common mistake that many Twitter and Facebook users make is using their status to vent about their current or former employer.  This does not always end well, as one employee for a ambulance service company found after posting disparaging comments about her supervisor on Facebook.  In her case, a complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board  led to a settlement with the company, but it took over one year and it is not clear whether the employee was given back her job.  There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this specific situation: as a union employee with a contract, she was afforded protections that most employees working in at-will employment states do not enjoy.  Additionally, even if the settlement was in her favor, how do you think prospective employers in the future will perceive the incident — not only the negative Facebook comments, but the fact that she filed a complaint against her employer? If they discover it, and odd’s are they will, they are unlikely to ask for her side of the story.  They will simply move on to the next candidate, of which there are many in this economy.

So, I guess the lesson here is think before you tweet.  Never post anything on Facebook or Twitter that you would not be willing to say in front of a hiring manager.

Social networking not the key to a job

Human resources industry publication Workforce Management (www.workforce.com) included this handy pie chart in the most recent edition of its e-newsletter on recruiting.  For job seekers, it would not be a bad idea to seek out publications that target human resource executives and recruiters in particular, in order to obtain valuable insight on how they approach the process of finding the right people for their companies.

This chart is especially enlightening.  More and more job seekers are under the impression that the key to success is simply opening a LinkedIn account.  LinkedIn and other social/professional networking sites certainly have their place in the job search.  However, they represent just one tool in the job seeker’s toolbox.  As you can see in these charts, social networking and social media is increasingly used as a way to find potential candidates, but the percentage of actual hires that resulted from those social media efforts is still very low.

The Dangers Of The Facebook Status Update

Should Workers Feel More Secure About Facebook Postings?

Earlier this month the National Labor Relations Board reached a settlement with an ambulance service company that fired an employee for bad mouthing her boss on Facebook.  The ruling, which compels the company to revise is overly broad rules regarding social media, is undoubtedly prompting other employers around the country to review their policies as well.  Regardless of the ruling, employees should not take this as invitation to start slamming their boss or co-workers on Facebook or other social media platforms, according to workplace authority John A. Challenger CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.  “The worker in this particular case was a member of a union.  Most workers are not union members and most work in states that have at-will employment rules, meaning that unless you are part of a legally protected class, employers can fire you for almost any reason.  And, members of Facebook are not a protected class.”  Challenger says that even if it doesn’t result in termination, bad-mouthing your boss whether on Facebook or at the water cooler is never a good career move.  He also points out that prospective employers could end up seeing your Facebook posts and decide not to hire you.  What are the dangers of making negative comments about employer, co-workers, supervisors on social networks, such as Facebook?  How can social networks be used to enhance your career and/or job search? 

Are You OVERLY Social-Networked?

As more and more job seekers turn to social and professional networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to expand their sphere of potential career-aiding contacts, blogger Tim Bursch suggests that maybe it’s time to start ignoring these networks.

While the Bursch post was written more from a marketing/customer relationship standpoint, the general theme is certainly applicable to job seekers. The point of the piece is that it is easy to get so carried away with the number of networking groups one joins that soon it becomes impossible to maintain meaningful and effective relations with any of them.

Here are the four reasons Bursch gave to start ignoring networks:

1. If you try to be everywhere, you end up really being nowhere. You spend a little time on a lot of networks and end up diluting your brand.
2. Relationships. If you don’t really invest time in one community you will probably only have transactions, instead of long-term relationships.
3. It’s about them. Your fans want to interact and it is about them. So, focus on them well.
4. You can’t please everyone. Some people will be missed. If you have something remarkable, people will find you.

There is a growing risk of spreading oneself too thinly among the expanding number of networking sites for job seekers. While LinkedIn in was once the go-to site, people are dedicating more time to using all of their networks – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. – for job-search outreach. Additionally, new sites such as KODA.us and the invitation-only Doostang.com appear to be popping up daily.

Bursch’s rules of the marketing-oriented network can be easily adapted for the job seeker. As a job seeker, you are the marketing professional as well as the product. So, the same guidelines can govern your actions as you build your brand among prospective employers.

We would include at least one additional rule: Don’t spend so much time attending to your virtual networks that you neglect your real-world networks.

The Internet has been a boon to job seekers, but it has also become a significant crutch in that it gives a false sense of conducting an “active” job search, even though it is quite “passive.” One feels a great sense of accomplishment after spending five hours a day combing through online job ads and interacting with various networks. Unfortunately, these efforts alone, while necessary, are unlikely to result in much job search success.

Too many job seekers, however, fall into the Internet trap where rejection is easier to accept, whether it’s in the form of an unanswered job application or a networking connection who cannot offer any help.

The active job seeker, on the other hand, is talking to hiring managers on the phone, meeting with people who can help with the job search, and making the effort to go out and find the hidden, unadvertised job opportunities, which account for the vast majority of potential openings. This person is far more exposed to the constant rejection that is the nature of all job searches.

Just as sending out 50 resumes in response to online job ads can feel like the accomplishments of an active job search, maintaining a constant flow of status updates and emails to contacts can make one feel like he or she is a master of networking. However, these activities cannot replace the face-to-face interactions that are critical to building meaningful relationships that will help you achieve your career goals.

Twitter: Building Yourself In 140 Characters Or Less


Twitter, like so many web 2.0 functions, has become the modern day sandwich board or news ticker or fortune cookie, etc. etc. In 140 characters at a time, you too can carve your niche, find your audience and get something back in the process.


Twitter is growing businesses, from cupcakes to executive coaching. Job seekers are posting their abilities, and recruiters are matching them to pertinent positions. News outlets are again finding relevancy, as the tumultuous industry moves print versions to online (see: Seattle Post-Intelligencer).

And you’ve heard it all before: Twitter is revolutionizing x, y and z. Look what it did for the Iran Election! Local rock bands are posting their next gigs… and people are going! Nomadic food vendors are giving their next locations…and people are going! Professional and motivational speakers are announcing their next conferences…and people are going!

We all knew the internet was something special, but even 10 years ago, we had no idea the power of instant communique! And it has not stopped with bands and food and government overthrows. The job seeker finally has an outlet to show themselves off!

Now more than ever, job seekers are not only finding job opportunities online, but are also marketing themselves online. LinkedIn, blogs and job boards give job seekers the ability to list their credentials in an eye-catching, sometimes witty, but definitely easy-to-see format, rather than just forage for information. Recruiters and employers are much more willing to take a look at something – anything – when it takes 10 seconds. And now, Twitter, whose interface allows users to publish streams of information to their “followers,” is becoming THE spot to pursue job leads, cultivate clients and get your name out there.

Twitter is fairly easy to use. If you want to reply to a fellow Twitterer, use @ and then their “handle.” If you want to repost an interesting tweet, use RT. But one of the most useful functions is the ability to redirect your followers to one of the above mentioned sites – allowing followers to visit blogs and LinkedIn pages they normally would not.

Reporters post links to their stories, companies post their url’s, bloggers post their blogs – the list goes on. Job seekers post links to their actual resumes! “Follow me and see what I can do.” It’s the pied piper of the 21st Century!

Using Twitter To Find A Job

1. Build your network. Challenger coaches advise job seekers to utilize every person in your personal and professional networks. With Twitter, you can grow this network to include hundreds of people.
2. Advertise your job loss. Although a job loss can be a trying, and sometimes humiliating, time for families and loved ones, telling your “followers” that you are looking for a job can be not only therapeutic, but also incredibly useful to finding a new position. Hundreds of recrutiers are on Twitter and have no problem following your tweets. You can cast a very wide net on Twitter with potential to net incredible results.
3. Think before you tweet. Twitter can be as anonymous as you want it to be. However, if you want to find a new position, you might want to spend some time on each tweet. Remember that you’re marketing yourself, you’re a product. Much like with blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., you don’t want to post anything that might cause pause (see: nude or racy photos, questionable content, etc.). Moreover, 140 characters limits your literary ability. What you read as witty, another might read as acerbic. What you think is funny, someone else might thing is offensive. Obviously, you want to show the world your best face, so keep this in mind when fashioning those 140 characters.
There are myriad ways you can utilize Twitter in your job search, so fear not! Keep those tweets coming and watch the job offers come in.

Colleen Madden
Research Consultant

Guest Blogger: EXECUTIVE ADVISOR JAN MARINO ON LINKEDIN

Networking BreakThrough Tips

Jan Marino, Executive Advisor

Networking today is a must for successful job seekers. Most of us want to make the networking process easier and we’ve been hoping the web would help us out. One of the best tools available is LinkedIn®. If you’re like most of us, you’ve received several invitations to join LinkedIn®. You sit and stare at your screen and think “what IS this website and how do I use it”? Here are a few facts and tips to help you out:

LinkedIn® is a business-oriented website launched in 2003 for online professional business networking. It has 20 million users from 150 different industries.

  1. LinkedIn® is a free service, but you can also upgrade and receive more tools for a monthly free.
  2. The website address is www.Linkedin.com.
  3. It’s perfect for job seekers because you can market your skills easily. Use LinkedIn® as your mini website.
  4. Promote yourself by directing people to your LinkedIn® page when you send out emails. Include your public profile address under your signature.
  5. Include your LinkedIn® profile address on your business card.

LinkedIn® provides a profile page where you can highlight your current and past business positions, education, as well as industry specialization. In addition, you can write a summary about yourself to talk about your skills, experience and uniqueness. There is also space for your picture and I recommend that you invest in a professional head shot so that you convey your professionalism.

LinkedIn® will never take the place of face-to-face networking, but they are very useful tools to “warm” up cold calls, research target companies and make connections. They are excellent for job seekers who need to market and brand themselves and reinforce that “WOW” factor.

Feel free to view my LinkedIn® page at http://www.linkedin.com/in/janmarino and visit my blog at www.highgainco.blogspot.com.

Hey, We Have ANOTHER Blog! The Challenger Job Hunt!

Does it seem too good to be true? Challenger Coaches decided we wanted another, separate forum for our job search advice. So come to @Work on trends, stats and insight on the current job market, and then click on over to our Challenger Job Hunt blog to get some serious job search advice.


Hooray for Blogging!