Job Search Through Social Media? Netiquette First!
Respect Privacy, Resist The Urge To Stalk
By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer
Monster Contributing Writer
You’d think twice about friending your boss on Facebook. So why would you bombard hiring managers and recruiters you’ve never met, with requests to join their social media networks?
This is one example of an Internet faux pas job seekers make. Another is asking for endorsements from people who aren’t familiar with your work.
There are many effective ways to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn as part of your job hunt. What you want to steer clear of is becoming an unwanted pest. Follow these Netiquette tips to avoid overstepping the lines.
Using Social Media Acceptably
Netiquette is mainly a common sense approach to your job hunt that includes social media. Being respectful, not obnoxious, is paramount.
Feel free to follow people and companies that interest you. This lets them know that you are out there. On Facebook you can Like their posts. Retweet their pearls of wisdom on Twitter. And add constructively to their comments on user groups.
Learn all you can about potential employers via their social media profiles and posts. You can also try to identify decision makers at employers of interest, via LinkedIn and Instagram.
Avoid Internet Stalking
Imagine if a stranger began following all your social media profiles. You start receiving Direct Messages from them on Twitter. They add photos of you on their Facebook page and tag them with your name.
Soon they are sending you emails and leaving messages on your voicemail. One day your phone buzzes and the stranger has sent you a text. Then it gets worse: you absentmindedly post your location on Facebook or FourSquare, and that person shows up to introduce themselves to you!
This is the latest nightmare of hiring managers. Being stalked by well-intentioned job seekers is creepy. It’s fine for you to show that you’re keen. Not so fine is harassing instead of using social media professionally to build your career.
Don’t Ask Strangers For Favours
A common error among social media newbies is prevailing on strangers for acts of kindness. “Would you please endorse me?” is a common one. “Can you refer me to so and so (even though you have no idea who I am) is too.
A particularly irritating error is sending someone an invitation to join your contact circle – without bothering to explain who you are or why you’re extending this request. LinkedIn and Facebook are littered with these annoying appeals. At least let the person know what intrigues you about their profile, and why connecting with you might make sense.
Don’t Ask For Favours Out Of The Blue
If you haven’t been in touch with someone for years, it’s bad manners to suddenly message them online and ask for a job or referral. Cultivating relationships on social media requires occasional nurturing.
Try giving recommendations on LinkedIn, offer to make an introduction, or send relevant articles to your contacts. When the time does come to ask them for something, it won’t seem like you’re just an opportunist.
Respect People’s Privacy
How far would you go to get invited into the private inner circle of someone important online? Job seekers have been known to create false Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles, then pose as friends (as opposed to being candidates). They hope this will fool the other person into accepting their invitation to connect. Once inside the inner circle, the deceitful job seeker mines for revealing information or finds other contacts to trick. This is a very bad tactic that’s sure to backfire.
Other ways of breaching a person’s privacy:
· Sending them job search related requests while the person is at work, hoping they will respond on their employer’s time.
· Expecting people to communicate with you on their employer’s equipment (smartphone, laptop, tablet) or on their work-related social media pages. All of it gets stored and is trackable back to the employee.
· Contacting them directly without their permission, or without being referred by someone they know.
Make Your Presence Known Impactfully, Not Intrusively
The quality of impression you make using social media for job hunting far outweighs quantity. Acknowledge people’s time constraints by keeping your posts and tweets high value, low volume.
Remember that notifications are instantaneous and most people check messages at least a few times a day. When they see that a potential job seeker has @ replied to them 10 times in a day about nothing valuable, the recipient is turned off.
Politely using social media in your job search can improve your prospects quite a bit. But being too aggressive, or wasting people’s time in order to get noticed, is nothing to twitter about.