Do Social Networks Trump Résumés?

Job seekers and employers who don't use social-networking Websites are missing out on golden opportunities to connect with one another.

Another interested observer — Barry Libert, CEO of Mzinga, a firm that provides social-media platforms allowing companies to connect with their employees, customers, and partners — says it’s clear that social media have already eclipsed résumés in relevance. “In a world where hundreds of millions of people are connected to each other, your social-media presence, profile, and activities are your résumé,” he says. “It is you. Your interests, passions, friends, network, and personality are all there. It is far more valuable than a résumé.”

Meanwhile, it’s not all about LinkedIn. Chambers says Facebook and Twitter both have enormous potential to become important tools for job seekers and employers alike. They’re moving that way now, she says, and both platforms will likely develop job-search apps for use on mobile phones.

ClearRock, meanwhile, offers several tips for building an effective social-network profile:

• Position yourself as an expert in your field. Include searchable keywords that detail the depth of your professional experience. Employers search for not only employees per se on social-media sites but also solutions to problems. Your expertise may be what a company is looking for.

• Stay active. Join LinkedIn and Facebook discussion groups that are composed of people in your profession or industry as well as targeted employers, and post to them regularly. The more you do, the more often your profile will be viewed, and the higher you will rank when potential employers are searching for someone like you. Answering questions from group members and commenting on the latest trends is a way to stay current.

• Watch out for any discrepancies between your résumé and social-media profiles. Such details as dates of employment must match exactly. Employers will pick up on any inconsistencies right away.

• Include your LinkedIn URL in the signature block of your e-mails. This will encourage people to click on your profile.

• Make sure you have a public profile setting so that your profile can be readily found on Google. Adjust your privacy settings to accept InMail, a service that executive recruiters often use.

• Devote a Facebook page to your work as a professional, separate from your personal page, to use in your job search.

• Keep your profiles up-to-date. Give meaningful status updates, such as links to your blog, and include your job search in status updates with your connections.

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