Social media – the dos and don’ts

Social media can be a difficult thing to manage when looking for a job. There are 1.4 billion Facebook users worldwide, and 98% of 18-24-year-olds who use any form of social media have a Facebook account[1]. This means that a significant number of people are putting themselves at risk of being rejected by future employers if they are not using these sites correctly. Here is some advice for those who use social media and to help you avoid negatively impacting your chance of being recruited.

 

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most widely used forms of social media. 250 million people have access to Facebook via their phone every day, which can lead to not only excessive posting, but also a lack of consideration as to what we post. It is important to realise the ease with which an employer can access your profile; try to keep anything remotely damaging to you, such as pictures of you excessively drinking or doing anything considered stupid to a minimum. They will see these pictures and videos and will immediately form an impression of you, even if you would consider it as the wrong one. Be honest about your behaviour – nobody minds if you enjoy a glass of wine (or two!) at the weekend, but don’t plaster being plastered all over your profile. It won’t do you any favours!

 

Twitter

Twitter is becoming increasingly popular and is a form of social media for anyone wanting to share their opinions to those who follow them, as well as sharing articles. Again, you must tread carefully with Twitter when it comes to job searching; employers may well research your interests and posts on your Twitter account. It is vital that you do not post anything that may be misinterpreted. Exercise caution when using Twitter as an outlet for political opinions or debates; you may end up getting yourself in hot water! Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t be happy to discuss with a future employer.

 

Instagram

Instagram is a form of social media for sharing photos with your followers. Like Facebook and Twitter, it is important not to share anything which could be seen as inappropriate behaviour. Try not to post too many “selfies” as this will make you come across as self-obsessed and shallow; on the other hand, posting pictures of things you enjoy such as travelling, fashion or food can support the things you put on your CV listed as “hobbies and interests”. It can prove to an employer that you aren’t exaggerating or indeed lying about what is on your CV.

 

LinkedIn

This site is targeted towards business professionals and aims to create links with business contacts. It could be regarded as the “Facebook” of the business world. It is important to create a full, detailed profile on LinkedIn so that employers and other professionals with whom you have had contact can research you and your skills. Many people get offered jobs through LinkedIn, so it is important that your profile is as professional as it can be. Look here for more tips: http://www.businessinsider.com/make-your-linkedin-profile-irresistible-2013-10?op=1

 

Don’t take your social media usage lightly. It could mean the difference between you getting a job or not. It is important to consider each and every thing that you put on your profiles and how it could look in the eyes of an employer. You don’t want that video of you drunk and singing at the office Christmas party last year (think Bridget Jones) ruining your chances of a big career!

 

[1] http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/

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A social media review of 2012.

2012 has experienced highs such as that of the Olympics and Paralympics in London and lows including Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school and we have rushed to document these events and more via tweets, statuses and photos. The influence of social media as a method of communication, education and information is undeniable and it seems like social media sites are only set to grow. So, as we will shortly arrive at the end of the year, let’s take the opportunity now to look at the main talking points of the year.

Pinterest

The astronomical ascent of Pinterest sparked the interest of the social media world. Pinterest is a image sharing social network where one has the opportunity to create online scrap books, which are called ‘boards’. Users are able to ‘pin’ images by uploading pictures or videos and pilfering from websites or other users’ accounts. The website has a predominantly female demographic with the typical trending images being clothes, cute animals or cakes. However, as businesses are beginning to realise the potential ROI, the website is starting to attract a large male audience.

Viral Videos

Kony 2012 began the influx of viral videos of 2012. The film was to promote the organisation, Invisible Children’s campaign which called for the arrest of International Crime Court fugitive, Joseph Kony. The film received positive and negative reception and the virality ensued a follow-up film. However, the second film didn’t reach the success of the first Kony film which to date has over 95 million views. Other viral videos of the year included Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer anthem Call Me Maybe, Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking parachute jump and GloZell Green’s hilarious cinnamon challenge. However, none match the feat of Psy’s Gangnam Style, which received the accolade of the most watched YouTube video of all time, amassing a total of over 990 million views.  This video montage shows the viral videos of 2012:

London 2012

The Olympic and Paralympic Games were hailed as the ‘World’s First Social Games’ and became the most tweeted event of 2012. Staggering statistics included 9.66 million tweets during the Opening Ceremony, 116 million related posts and comments were published on Facebook and 231 million videos were viewed on YouTube. Perhaps the most impressive stat is that by the time Usain Bolt finished the 100m in 9.63 seconds, 2 million related posts on the internet were shared. The incredible amount of tweets also led to Twitter crashing, demonstrating the magnitude of online sharing.

Social Media Faux-Pas

Of course, it wouldn’t be social media without a few public gaffes and this year was no exception. British high-end supermarket Waitrose asked their Twitter followers why they shop at Waitrose using the following hashtag #WaitroseReasons and received responses such as: ‘I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people’ and ‘I shop at Waitrose because I was once at the Holloway Rd Branch and heard a dad say “Put the papaya down, Orlando!’. The Waitrose PR team responded to the incident with this tweet, ‘Thanks for all the genuine and funny #waitrosereasons tweets.We always like to hear what you think and enjoyed reading most of them.’ However, Waitrose may have had the last laugh as the incident reinforced their high-end image which is hardly bad publicity!

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy showed the scope of potential social media could offer in future disaster relief efforts. Authorities used social media to communicate with the otherwise unreachable public and the public used social media sites to connect, communicate and collaborate to organise Sandy clear up events. As the public took to social networks to upload photos and videos of the devastation, it has been noted that these first-hand accounts could aid the authorities along with scientific and emergency services to predict future weather patterns and to put better flood and hurricane protection measures in place.

US Presidential Elections 2012

Talk of the US presidential elections dominated the social networks as supporters of Obama and Romney battled it out. After a long election campaign, when news broke that Obama had clinched his second term as president, the tweet, Four more years accompanied with the now historic photo of Obama hugging the First Lady became the most retweeted photo of all-time being shared over 643,135 times.

Pope joins Twitter

A telling sign of the influence of social media has to be when traditional institutions such as the Church use social media to connect with their following. In December, the Pope joined the tweeting masses, racking up over 1 million followers within 2 weeks of joining.  In related news, senior Anglican bishops will tweet their Christmas sermons to the masses and they are even encouraging worshippers to tweet during the service.

2012 has been a tumultuous year in the world of social media and it looks like there will be more in store in 2013. From everyone at TM International, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What have been your highlights of 2012?

Social Media privacy: So who exactly can see my personal information?

Since the birth of social media sites such as Facebook, parents have internationally spent many an hour worrying about what exactly strangers can see on their children’s profiles. Today, however, social media privacy is not just a worry for anxious parents. Recent privacy breaches and ever-changing social media privacy laws have brought privacy on such sites to media attention of late. According to a recent survey, a staggering 50% of social media users report to have had problems concerning privacy. It is clear to anyone paying the smallest amount of attention that the popularity and growth of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn show no signs of slowing. With consumers sharing a growing volume of increasingly varied content, there is a growing awareness of the need for stricter rules concerning privacy. So what can you – as a user – do to keep your information private?

I was extremely shocked recently when I read about a new smart phone application (developed in Russia) called “Girls Around Me”. Combining details made public by Facebook, Foursquare and Google Maps, the app (targeting young men) plots a map of attractive girls currently in the area surrounding the user. For an application to be exposing the whereabouts of individuals (while they have no idea whatsoever) just seems completely wrong. But is it really? Millions of people around the world regularly make use of social media, but 68% of American users say that they don’t understand what information they are sharing or who they are sharing it with. You could argue that if social media users are willing to share their personal data without ensuring that they completely understand privacy settings, then more fool them. Yes, all networks do offer default security settings, but in general these are fairly loose. They will not – for example – protect photos that you have been tagged in if a recruiter searches your Facebook profile. Many users are in fact surprised by just how little information is protected by the default settings. There is nearly always an option to customize privacy settings, enabling users to limit who can see what. Job seekers in particular would be wise to look into customizing their settings if they don’t want their next interviewer to see those photos.

We have all heard that hiring managers may well search our social media profiles before an interview to see what extra information they can find. It surprises me just how many avid social media users I have heard pondering over what exactly a recruiter or potential boss could see. Fully aware of the consequences, many of us still do not check what we are sharing with others, or take two minutes to adjust our privacy settings. It is clear that there is a real need for users to educate themselves on exactly what they are sharing through their use of social media. Did you know, for example, that every time you click “I agree “ to use a new Facebook application, you are agreeing to a new set of rules on sharing your information. Sure, nobody ever reads Terms and Conditions, but perhaps it is worthwhile taking the time to delete apps you don’t use and to look into the privacy settings of those you find useful. This may make you think twice about which applications you really need.

Given the nature of the information shared, Facebook is usually the network causing the most concern regarding privacy. The undeniable growth of social media motivates us to share more and more information. “Check-ins” on location-based services are a more recent addition to social media. As the “Girls Around You” example clearly illustrates, users should be very wary when using such applications. Countless stories in the news of youngsters mistakenly advertising the address of parties they are hosting to thousands of strangers perfectly illustrate the need for care. In an ideal world, it is best just not to use location-based services. Being quite this strict however does put restrictions on your use of social media.

So to really be safe, users can set up specific email accounts to use for social media (to avoid directing any spam brought about by social media to your main email account). Furthermore, it is advisable to make passwords as strong as possible (with numbers and letters, upper and lower case, no memorable names or dates…) and to change them regularly. To go even further, those really concerned about social media privacy could simply share less. If you don’t want the world to see a picture, don’t post it. If you’re not sure about the privacy settings of an application, then don’t use it. Simple! Such a strict approach however is easier said than done.  If you follow all the advice out there, your profile will be well protected, but probably not nearly as much fun. Really making the most of today’s social media experience necessitates a certain lack of privacy. Yes, it’s unwise to share your details through location-based apps, but how many avid social media users are honestly going to pass up the opportunity to take part in social media’s latest trend? It’s up to the individual to weigh up their own priorities and to decide what they value most highly; their social media freedom, or their privacy.

The LinkedIn mistakes that you need to avoid.

In a job search – perhaps even more than in private life – it is close to impossible to avoid social media. We all know by now that sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are invaluable job search tools. Whether you share your details or not, it is safe to assume that your interviewer will google you at some point in the interview process, if they don’t go straight to LinkedIn and look up your profile directly! These are both easy ways for potential employers to use your online professional presence to get a feel for you as a person before they even meet you. For this reason, it is vital that you keep all social media accounts relevant, professional and up-to-date. As arguably the most valuable of all such tools, keeping your LinkedIn profile up to scratch is absolutely vital.

As is the case for all types of social media, LinkedIn is a tool to enable interaction; be it making new connections, developing existing professional relationships, or discussing content. In signing up for a LinkedIn account, users are stating that they want to make new connections and get noticed. This won’t happen if you lay low and just wait for the right person to stumble across your profile. LinkedIn Groups allow users to form communities based around a particular centre of interest; sharing and discussing content. This is an easy way to make connections and get noticed for your knowledge and opinions – and isn’t that exactly what we all want potential employers to notice? So post content and ask questions that you think might interest others to generate discussion. Make sure to show that you’re active too; reply to comments sent to you and let others know when they’ve made an interesting point!

As is human nature in many day-to-day situations, many LinkedIn users tend to hang back to see what others are doing before putting themselves out there and engaging in discussion. While this is wasting a valuable tool, it is also unadvisable to go too far and interact too much. LinkedIn allows users to link tweets to the site – in other words showing everything you write on Twitter to your LinkedIn connections too. While this might seem like a great way to step up interaction, it is a risky choice to make. LinkedIn and Twitter serve very different purposes and while Twitter can also be used as a valuable job search tool, many of us post more personal content on Twitter. Is that really relevant to show to connections you are making to further your job search? Instead, choose to link just relevant, selected tweets to your profile.

It is also important to avoid over-selling yourself. So you’ve sought out a connection, great. Wait a while before bombarding them with messages, queries and requests for help. Better still; see if they will contact you. While it is definitely unwise to sit back and wait for things to happen to you, you don’t want to put all your new connections off before they’ve even had a chance to look at your profile! Have patience, but do get in touch after a while if it’s suitable.

Your LinkedIn profile is a virtual representation of you – the only impression others can get without actually meeting you! While it may seem obvious, many users ignore just how important it is to ensure their profile is complete. An incomplete profile will make you come across as sloppy and unprofessional. We have all heard that profile photos are important, but countless users nevertheless ignore this completely. The eye is first drawn to the space usually taken up by a photo, so a lack thereof is noticed straight away, perhaps also suggesting a lack of attention to detail.

A complete profile gives you the best possible chance to come up in searches, optimising your chances of the right people finding your profile and developing the right connections. Another tool offered by LinkedIn that many of us refrain from using is recommendations. You can leave a recommendation for a past colleague, which will usually prompt them to leave one for you. Just like a review for a book or film, LinkedIn recommendations encourage others to believe in your profile.

Finally, many users are unaware that Linkedin offers personalised URLs. This means that your whole name or keywords describing your profession can come up at the end of your URL rather than the jumble of letters and numbers that are generated automatically. Not only does this personalisation look more professional, it also helps your profile’s SEO (helping your profile feature highly in searches). This change can be made through a quick adjustment in your account settings, so there’s no excuse not to! Key words are enormously helpful for your SEO, but not just in your URL. They are also useful in descriptions of what you’re looking for and previous work experience.

LinkedIn is undoubtedly a fantastic job search tool. Pro-activity will ensure that you get noticed by others for your interests and opinions and a complete profile will help you come up in searches. With just a little time and attention, your profile will be optimised to support your job search.

Good Luck!

The Google+ revamp: Was design the problem anyway?

In the relatively short time since its launch last year, Google+ has built up a staggering following, which now stands at 170 million. This is an incredibly impressive growth rate and one which wholly reflects Google’s intentions for its flagship social media platform; to rival the giant in the field – Facebook. Despite its increasing popularity however, Google+ has been largely criticised since its launch, with user experience experts claiming that the network is clunky, poorly designed and difficult to navigate.

Perhaps it was such criticism that led Google to unveil an updated design of Google+ last week. The aim of the new design was to create “a simpler, more beautiful Google”, in keeping with the design of Google’s other services, creating a seamless Google experience. The main change brought about by the new design is increased potential for customisation. So what exactly did they change?

Design

Well the new Google+ follows another social media redesign fairly closely; that is of course Facebook’s timeline, which was introduced late last year. Although timeline has also received its share of criticism, some elements are immensely popular. Namely, the cover photo and larger photos on profiles. The $1 billion sale of Instagram to Facebook last week shows just how highly photos are valued these days by Facebook and its users (more on that later). It is a smart move therefore that Google have echoed the cover photo and pictures in their new design. Increased white spaces and greater focus on images make Google+ both modern and personal. Another feature is hidden icons, which show up when the cursor hovers over them, de-cluttering the layout.

Customisation

Another new addition is the navigation ribbon on the left hand side of the page. Icons such as “Home”, “Profile”, “Photos”, Hangouts” and “Games” can be rearranged by dragging and dropping according to the user’s preferences. The new design aims to increase its appeal in this way, by facilitating greater variation on the site. Further customization is also available in apps, which users can tailor to suit their needs.

Interaction

A small part of the increased white space on Google+ is allocated to an “explore” section. Not unlike Twitter, Google now shows users current trends. This section also includes a list of people “You may know” and things “You might like”, increasing scope for links and connections throughout the site.

Feedback on Google’s new layout sprung up all over the web in a matter of days. Many people feel that it makes good use of real estate and even say that it’s better looking than Facebook. However there are as ever those who disagree. Some think that good as Google’s efforts may be, it’s simply too late in the day for it to catch up with Facebook. The new design also most definitely misses a trick. Mobile is no longer the future, but is sharing a very substantial part of the present as far as internet time – and social media in particular – are concerned. The fact that Google haven’t even updated the mobile version of the service therefore is nothing less than short-sighted.

The increased white space on Google+ has also come under fire.  What Google intended to be refreshing and in keeping with the design of their other features has been widely criticized as a waste of space and a poorly thought out design. Social media critics have even gone as far as to mock the white space, with “#whitespace” trending on Twitter and a meme suggesting uses for this space becoming increasingly popular.

Such criticism of a seemingly well thought out re-design begs the question; was Google+’s problem really design in the first place?

Well opinions on Google+ have been split since the very beginning, but never to the extent that people don’t try it. We can tell just by looking at its insane growth rate that the problem for Google+ was never one of attracting new members. Some say that it’s less to do with Google+ itself and more to do with the social media market. Do we really need a new social network? Well the recent market value of Instagram alone shows that some new networks are starting up just fine! Content isn’t a problem either – thanks to the clear link to a pretty successful search engine, the Google “+1” button is popping up all over the place and is getting used, more in fact than any other social network promotion device.

So that leaves design. Just analysing the visual appearance of course misses out a vital aspect of design, one that Google engineers are very conscious of; their attention to coding is impeccable. We all know that Google have huge control of the internet and they know exactly how to code a site. Google+ is no exception and its speed is impressive. This, however is not the sort of design that appeals to the masses, who are unlikely to notice that they can post a fraction of a second faster on Google+ than they could on Facebook. In this day and age, it is appearance (online, at least!) that is vital. With smart phones, tablets, Instagram and so on, we take photos of anything and everything, making even the mundane look beautiful. So perhaps Google has just gone too far with the simplified design of its flagship.

It seems that there are simply too many factors at play to attribute problems for Google+ to design alone. Criticism is rife every time Facebook adapts its design, but that doesn’t deter users. Perhaps we are just expecting too much too fast from the huge name that is Google. After all, it really is only a matter of months since the launch, which isn’t at all long for a network aiming for such a broad appeal. Facebook was not built in a day, after all. Keep at it, Google, you’ve a way to go yet!

The Dangerous World of LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn’s a great social network. Currently home to 145+ million users, it has a growth rate that is quite simply astonishing. It’s great for job seekers, it’s great for recruiters and it unquestionably rules the world of B2B. So basically it’s great, right?

Well, yes but as with everything in life it’s got its drawbacks. I’ve spoken previously about how LinkedIn can be an incredibly beneficial tool for job seekers (and of course other professionals) but today I want to discuss its dangers. What are the risks involved when using a LinkedIn account and what should you be avoiding?

I’m going to start with one of the hottest topics at the moment when it comes to social networking. This is something which has sparked global debate, and outrage in certain cases, and is probably the no.1 danger of LinkedIn. This is of course privacy. Now I’ve talked about privacy a little bit previous to this but in that case I chose to concentrate on the social media giant, Facebook (so if you’re worried about your privacy on Facebook then feel free to take a little look at that). But, as the title quite bluntly underlines, today is all about LinkedIn.

The problem with a social network is exactly that; it’s social. And the problem with that is the extreme difficultly to be simultaneously social whilst maintaining details about yourself to yourself. But the privacy issue with LinkedIn is not the same as it is with Facebook, or other social networks for that matter. In fact LinkedIn is one of the better social networking sites when it comes to account and profile privacy. The problem here lies in the user’s desire to share things about themselves without thinking carefully about who is going to see them. I’ll give you an example. I read an article on Forbes the other day which described the case of John Flexman, an employee of the gas exploration firm BG Group. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this specific case but basically Flexman had ticked the box highlighting his interest in “career opportunities” which resulted in him being fired. As crazy as that may seem, this is not an isolated incident. The details which you post on LinkedIn are going to be looked at, so make sure not to include information which could easily be misinterpreted!

But it’s not just selecting the options that LinkedIn gives you that causes problems. Many of you job seeking LinkedIn users will have included a summary on your profile. A little blurb about yourself which you think sums you up. Unfortunately, the way you describe yourself may not look as good through someone else’s eyes as it sounds in your head. I’ve read countless summaries which include paragraphs of irrelevant waffle that will immediately turn a potential employer into someone who’s never going to look at your profile again. Remember there’s difference between LinkedIn and a network like Facebook. Yes, LinkedIn is a social network but it’s also the professional one. I’m not saying you should make your profile over professional and incredibly boring but if you’re a job seeker my advice to you is simple: Use the summary as your job pitch. Tell them, whoever they might be, why you should get the job. Keep your stories about your crazy hobbies etc for your personal friends.

Another thing which is partially relevant to the privacy issue is the profile picture. Whoever visits your profile, or comes across you in a search, the first thing they will look at is your profile picture. So you would think the users of the professional network would take this into consideration and upload a suitable picture. Yet, the number of times I have come across a picture of someone drinking a beer or lying on a beach is quite simply astonishing. It’s fair enough that you want your LinkedIn profile to have personality, but a silly profile picture is not the way to go.

So there are just a few things which can cause problems on LinkedIn. Whether you’re a job seeker or currently employed the overall message is the same: Don’t rush the creation of your LinkedIn profile, don’t throw LinkedIn into the same pile as Facebook and ultimately make sure every bit of information, text or anything else that is visible is something you want people to see. And most importantly, if you avoid the problems, LinkedIn really is a great tool.

What 2012 has in store for recruitment

Recruitment is experiencing a revolution.

2011 bore witness to the transformation of the traditional recruitment field to a sector where social is king. I’ve written a bit about social recruiting in previous posts and 2011 really saw this going mainstream. It saw recruiters moving away from their traditional methods, such as job boards, and exploring the extreme potential of the social route. When looking to hire a recruiter, social competence has climbed towards the top of the list of desireable qualities. Many job seekers have adapted to the change, as LinkedIn’s 145+ million members suggests, but the social trend is speeding up and promises to explode in the New Year.

So, what does 2012 have in store for recruitment? And more importantly what does that mean for the job seeker?

Let’s get the ball rolling with LinkedIn. I’ve mentioned its 145+ million user base and the fact that it has been one of the key players in the social recruiting world, but what’s more important to focus on is its growth rate and therefore its future potential. On March 22nd 2011 LinkedIn announced a major milestone in its history, it hit 100 million users. We’re now in January 2012, which puts its growth rate at around 50%. Working purely from that logic it is perfectly possible (and some would consider very likely) that LinkedIn will hit 300 million users by the end of 2012. It’s adding about 2 new members every second, a rate which continues to increase. So if you’re not on LinkedIn now and you’re looking for a job, the chances are you will be by the end of the year!

But it’s not just the large user base of potential connections that should attract you to LinkedIn. Recruiters actively use LinkedIn more and more to source candidates. In other words they are looking for you; all you need to do is help them find you! At present, and throughout 2011, a lot of LinkedIn’s financial gains were made because of recruiters. This is no surprise given that most of LinkedIn’s offers and packages are aimed at hiring managers. This will continue to be the case as the year runs its course but what is being predicted now is the likelihood of HR specific software being introduced (and making a big impact). There are several new products in the making which are to be released this year so watch out for them!

Now to the current king of the social web, Facebook. Facebook is the largest social network in existence. It has over 850 million users and undoubtedly owns the social media crown. Since its launch, its growth rate has been astonishing. That is until now. Facebook has become accustomed to a 10% growth rate in internet user reach per quarter over the last few years, but in the last few months of 2011 it was barely growing at a rate of 1%. Google+ was launched and, after its sudden rise and equally sudden fall in growth rate, is now being predicted to grow to around 400 million users by the end of the year. People are spending less time on Facebook and ultimately its popularity seems to be decreasing. Some have even suggested that 2012 could be the year where Facebook falls. Now I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon. Yes Google+ is likely to be successful but it turns out that the internet probably is big enough for the both of them. Their aims and purposes are different and I’m pretty sure the Facebook team isn’t thinking about the good run they’ve had and that it’s time to lie down and let Google take over. 2012 will still involve businesses flocking to Facebook to reach their customers just as recruiters will flock to it to find the best candidates and run several other of their operations. The rumour of Facebook jobs is not an unrealistic one and it’s not unlikely that 2012 could be the year that Facebook changes things up and diversifies its services in a way that will impact recruitment in a massive way. What’s important to remember right now though is that it’s all speculation. Neither of the internet giants have laid out their specific intentions for the year in relation to recruitment so I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ are growing in importance for the recruitment industry but what about Twitter? Twitter has grown impressively since its launch, now boasting over 300 million users. It’s the quickest way that information can find us but is it important in a recruitment context? Well, 2011 finally bore witness to recruiters “getting it”. However, most recruiters I’m aware of are still only using it as a one-way communication channel, a way to broadcast information. What’s likely to change in 2012 is the way recruiters use Twitter. Recruitment, just like social media, is about relationships. So 2012 should be the year when recruiters stop broadcasting and start conversing. If you’re not on Twitter I would advise you to start using it. Start following relevant people and start networking because ultimately you can improve your chances of getting a job!

The final major transformation which I can almost guarantee 2012 has in store for us is the mobile revolution. With the technology available today, social and mobile are extremely closely linked. It’s fair to say that the world’s gone mobile. For me, it’s only a matter of time before recruiters react. If you’re an analytics user (which you most likely are if you run a website) then you will probably have noticed a distinct increase in the amount of mobile traffic your website is receiving. I can almost guarantee that 2012 is the year of the mobile explosion in the recruitment field. It seems every other person owns an iPhone, tablet or one of the many other mobile devices and many use that device as their main internet access point. Everyone wants to reach everyone, anywhere and anytime, a prospect which is now a reality. Recruiters are starting to make their sites mobile optimized and the select few have started to create and run their own apps so watch out for that. 2012 could just be the year when you find yourself a job on your phone.

So there are a few things that are (likely) going to happen this year. 2012 is the year where technical competence and an understanding of the digital world are essential capabilities to the job seeker. So keep up to date with what’s going on, get social and go mobile!

The Modern Assistant: Why you need to be using social media

Why Secretaries and Executive Assistants should use social media

Social Media is going to become the key for business survival. It is not unlikely that, in the future, social media may even become more important than a company’s website. Refusal to accept this threatens to result in failure. However, plenty of executives and “higher-ups” are uninterested in learning about it or adopting it themselves, and therefore an opportunity arises for others.

An Assistant or Secretary with a knowledge and understanding of social media could become as attractive as one with a foreign language. After all, social media as a concept seems as daunting as learning a foreign language for many of the “old school.” If you can grasp the importance of social media in today’s business environment then you can give yourself a competitive advantage over others and with the job market as it is, it is necessary to stand out to survive.

As an assistant who can implement a social media strategy you can offer your company greater networking and marketing capabilities and ultimately business development, which in turn can provide you with a more interesting and more important role within the company as well as a higher potential income.

How Secretaries and Executive Assistants should use social media

I am of course not saying that you have to become an expert and control your company’s entire social media operation. Running social media can easily become a full time job in itself and therefore it would be difficult to add such a task to your existing responsibilities. However, with a good strategy and understood purpose, you (and any other assistants you work with) can take on certain roles which will benefit your company.

This could be anything from setting up an account for your company on Twitter to increase networking opportunities, to setting up a Facebook page to connect with existing and potential customers.  Just being able to improve your company’s presence online can prove beneficial.

Therefore my advice to Secretaries and Assistants would be to get accustomed with social media. Keep up to date with changes by using it regularly and by reading articles. Give yourself the best chance of getting employed, or becoming invaluable to your existing employers, and stand out in the crowd. After all, social media is the future.

How to manage your e-reputation (and why you need to)

 

We live in an ever-increasing, inter-connected digital world: A world where information spreads like wildfire.

Everything you say and do online can be tracked.

And whether you like it or not, you have an e-reputation.

In previous posts I have talked a lot about the take-over of social media and the resulting death of privacy. For a job seeker, managing your reputation online is essential. Here are some stats which explain why:

  • 48% of recruiters check personal sites during the hiring decision
  • 63% of recruiters use social media to prospect employees
  • 78% of recruiters check search engines to find out more about potential candidates

(Stats from KBSD)

But it’s not just people looking for a job who need to manage their e-reputation. 8% of employers admit to having fired someone because of their actions on social media. So I’m afraid it’s just a fact: No matter who you are or where you might be, you have to manage your online reputation.

Now that has put e-reputation in quite a dark light and suggested that you only manage your reputation to avoid problems. But this is not the case. The benefits of managing your online reputation can quite literally change your life.  For example it can get you a job, bring you business in your existing job or even get you a promotion. But how do you go about improving and maintaining a positive online reputation?

Well honestly that completely depends on how you use the internet. But here are 3 key things you can do:

#1: Create your own online presence

A lot of people like to believe that if people can’t find you online then they can’t discriminate against you. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Most employers would develop a negative opinion of you if you have no online presence what so ever. In a digital world where technology rules, being able to use it and understand it is a valuable asset. Therefore an employer will assume you cannot do so if they can’t find you. So, get yourself online and create your own e-reputation.

#2: Find yourself

Most internet users begin their online activity with a search. The chances are, if someone wants to find you they are going to Google you. So why not Google yourself, check where you appear on SERPs and what information comes up. By doing this you can track and manage everything that is being said about you.

#3: Secure everything

In most cases you control what you put on the web. Make sure the privacy settings on your social networks are tight and do not reveal personal information. Ensure only to use a secure browser to avoid hackers posting incorrect and harmful information. Take a look at what you’ve got online – don’t share inappropriate pictures, comments etc in a professional context, it usually doesn’t end well.

So that’s just a few things to get you started. Just remember; you need to keep on top of what is being said about you, protect your e-reputation and ultimately boost your online presence.

Someone’s always watching, so make sure they see what you want them to see.

Will Facebook and Google make LinkedIn obsolete?

At the time of this blog being written, LinkedIn is the number one professional network. It is home to around 116 million users, a number which continues to climb. Its profits have risen and its stock remains buoyant. It operates within its own niche, tactically deciding to avoid competing against the social network powerhouse that is Facebook. It seems to be doing everything right, so why is there the feeling that this may change in the future?

Well, there has been a lot of debate recently surrounding the battle for social dominance. Facebook, the current King of the social networks, is now not looking so comfortable on its throne. As I have discussed in previous posts, Google+ is on the rise and poised to take that crown. But what’s this got to do with LinkedIn?

It is clear that Facebook itself has purposefully avoided targeting the professional crowd and Google+ has only just begun its exploits in the world of “social business,” and it certainly hasn’t outlined plans  to target professionals from the get go. But as the struggle for dominance grows it is becoming clear that the only way to win/succeed will be to offer new, and better, features for users.

Unfortunately for LinkedIn, the job market and the professional crowd seem the perfect area for Facebook and/or Google to expand into. With these two internet giants entering into this niche, and therefore directly competing with LinkedIn, it spells trouble for the current, almost unchallenged, professional network. Now, I’m not suggesting that this is going to happen right away, but what must be underlined is that it really is a question of “when” rather than “if”. It is a natural progression for both Google and Facebook and it’s one of the key strategies to keep the competition alive. But can we just write off LinkedIn?

Well, a lot of people are. LinkedIn has experienced a barrage of criticism recently and there have been a number of hints at its potential downfall. The “problem” associated with LinkedIn is that it’s boring. There’s no sex appeal and a clear lack of imagination in its creative team. Although it does have an impressive user-base, the number of unique visitors is much lower and many current users have admitted to ignoring the site. So does this mean that LinkedIn is heading for a fall?

Well, not necessarily.

Yes, LinkedIn isn’t the sexiest social site and it’s not one that constantly updates and adds new features to enthrall its user-base, but it never wanted to or said it was going to.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

I would happily bet that an overwhelming majority of LinkedIn users also have a Facebook profile. This is simply because they want to separate their personal and professional lives, and this seems the general consensus amongst my colleagues and my friends. LinkedIn has been described as social media with no buzz and no sex appeal. For example: Facebook can get you friends, Twitter and YouTube can make you famous but LinkedIn is unexciting and unstylish.

Whilst I do agree that it could use a “sprucing up” I also feel it’s important to stress that it isn’t a site with no buzz. The buzz, or appeal, of LinkedIn is that it can get you a job or get you more business. So do I think it’s just going to disappear whilst Facebook and Google take the reins?

In a word, no. LinkedIn isn’t going to just disappear any time soon. It has a loyal (and growing) user base and remains the preferred professional network. LinkedIn’s critics say its downfall will be a result of its lack of sex appeal, but what they don’t seem to have recognized is that the LinkedIn user-base don’t want sexy, they want professional. The young users want jobs and the older executives want to generate business. That said, Facebook and/or Google are sure to start targeting the professional crowd in the coming months and they will be prepared to fight for market share. What is certain is that it promises to be an interesting future for social business. But if you remember one thing, let it be that LinkedIn will not go down without a fight.