Mashable ran a list of helpful hints for using various forms of social media to get jobs. Their suggestions are great -- things like, tweet often, follow the right people, check your privacy settings, and make sure your LinkedIn profile is compelling. These are great ideas, and well worth the read. But, is this something you should pursue? Here are some hints to help you decide if you should tackle the job hunt in the public eye through social media.
Your social media presence needs to be interesting to you. What are you going to be tweeting about? What will your Tumblr focus on? If you are just trying to come up with something so that you can have a social media presence, perhaps this isn't the best idea for you. You need to be passionate about what you are talking about. If you're not, your writing will seem dull, you'll have to force yourself to do it, and you probably won't keep things up to date.
Can you write well? A Tumblr that is filled with funny GIFs doesn't require a great deal of writing. Neither does sharing interesting articles on LinkedIn or Twitter or even Facebook, but if you're going to blog, or write unique Twitter posts, you'll need to be a pretty good writer. Occasional typos are forgiven in the blogging world -- although you're likely to have grammar freaks find you and they will email you about each and every typo you make. I consider it free editing. But, if your mistakes are more than typos, it's not the best idea for you.
Are you willing to devote time to social media? You don't have to tweet regularly in order to find jobs on Twitter. But you do need to search out and follow people and companies you are interested in. You can, of course, locate jobs on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or Tumblr and then apply by emailing your resume to the recruiter. This works. But it gives you no advantages over the person who found the job posting on the company's webpage and applied that way. (Well, it does give you the advantage that not all companies post all jobs in all places.) But, the recruiter doesn't know anything extra about you. If you want social media to work for you, you need to spend time with it. Daily. Like a friend.
Does your social media presence reflect what you want to do professionally? It doesn't have to be focused on your professional career, but it needs to reflect who you are there. If you want an accounting job with a big named accounting firm, but your passion is dancing and you tweet and blog about dancing, that's fine, as long as it's not filled with foul language and inappropriate pictures. It's part of your big picture, so you better make sure that picture is positive. If it's not, make your social media presence either anonymous or locked down with privacy settings.
If it's just to get a job, it's probably not the best idea. Other than LinkedIn, if you're just doing this to get a job, it's probably not the place you should focus on. Social media works best with relationships that you build year after year. So, don't start a Twitter account today with the idea that you'll shut it down in three months after you land that new job. Just skip it altogether and use more traditional methods of finding a job.
Social media can be a great way to find a job if you decide you want to go that route. It doesn't take the place of networking and traditional applications, of course, but it can open doors.