Apr 24

Is Twitter The New Résumé?

Recently, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Twitter is increasingly preferred by recruiters rather than a standard résumé.  While the idea is interesting, it’s unlikely that Twitter will singlehandedly eliminate the traditional résumé.

Obviously, reading a candidate’s tweets will give a recruiter some idea of the knowledge level, experience and personality of the candidate.  However, in most cases, Twitter alone doesn’t provide enough information for a recruiter to make a job offer.

Unless the job is specifically in Social Media, it’s virtually impossible to adequately “vet” a candidate based on 140-character quotes. A recruiter has a responsibility to the company which requires their due diligence in selecting a qualified applicant. Education, experience, references and demeanor will generally be evaluated by traditional means.  So, you still need to be prepared with your traditional record of qualifications, education and experience.

Some companies may advertise for a position on Twitter.  Again, for certain jobs, this may be appropriate. For many positions, a company can capitalize on the exposure a tweet can bring.  This is good for them.  However, this exposure could result in a flood of applicants that will all be in competition with you. Where you need to focus is on making yourself stand out from that crowd.

Where Twitter can benefit you most is in making connections with hiring managers and other industry professionals.  These connections can lead to interviews, and/or demonstrate your unique “voice” to a recruiter making hiring decisions. Use Twitter for conversations, not to merely broadcast tweets about your skills without interaction.  Get to know people, and allow them to know you.

Most importantly, remember that social media is your voice in the world, and what you project is what others see.  If you want to be considered a professional in your field, make sure your Twitter timeline reflects this.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see, avoid spamming people with tweets about your qualifications, and use Twitter to network wherever possible.

The Importance Of Having A Solid Digital Footprint

What is a digital footprint?
Your digital footprint consists of everything recorded in your online life. It’s your online reputation, your personal brand. This includes profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, personal blogs and websites, technical/professional articles you have published, tweets you have sent, and so on.

Why is it important?
A recent study by Microsoft found that 70% of employers check a candidate’s digital footprint during the recruitment process. Not only does your digital footprint give a potential employer an idea of who you are, it shows them how other people see you. It demonstrates your communication skills. On the other hand, a lack of a digital footprint could lead an employer to view you as “out of touch” or lacking digital savvy.

Does your profile or blog have a wide reach among professional contacts and/or does it demonstrate your professional expertise?  Or does it show pictures of you enjoying yourself a little too much at that St. Patrick’s Day party?  Your goal is to be able to show an employer that you have a fully developed online presence that supports what you claim on your resume, and to eliminate anything that portrays you in a negative light.

What can I do?
First, attempt to view yourself the way an HR Manager would.  Google and Bing your own name, for a start.  Are there many people with your same name, which can cause confusion? Is there less-than-complimentary information displayed? Do you use proper spelling and grammar, or is your profile peppered with slang or profanity? These are all issues that are solvable.

Second, if you don’t find much information about yourself, get to work putting yourself out there.  Make sure you have a full profile filled out on websites such as LinkedIn, and take the time to make connections there.  Tweet in a professional way. Participate in online discussions.  Connect with people who can vouch for your qualifications, and ask them to do so. Publish articles on a personal blog or professional association website. And so on.

Third, clean up errors or negative information. Make your Facebook profile private. (Though, some employers are starting to demand access to those.) Get rid of unflattering photos or connections to people/organizations that would reflect poorly on you. Make sure you don’t convey derogatory comments about former employers or co-workers, and don’t share confidential information about them either.  In a nutshell, don’t put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want an employer to see.

Lastly, consider using an email address that is a variation of your name, or at least one that sounds professional. An email address of “vampirekiss@bloodsuckers.com” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

A solid digital footprint can make the difference between landing that interview and being tossed in the “thanks, but no” pile. Make sure that your digital footprint portrays you in the best possible light and demonstrates your skills, education and professionalism. It takes a bit of effort, but will be very much worth your while.