Absence on Facebook = Criminal behavior?

August 30, 2012

A recent Forbes article sparked controversy when author Kashmir Hill claimed that Facebook abstainers could be labeled “suspicious”. The debate originated in Germany when an expert suggested that not being on Facebook exposes you as a social outcast, or even a potential mass murderer. (Both Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik and Aurora, CO shooter James Holmes lacked a social media presence).

Employers, for example, use social networks to find or screen potential applicants, and without an online presence, you may be overlooked. Even worse, they may assume you’re hiding something or failing to keep up with new technology. Yet, if you don’t enjoy using Facebook, you shouldn’t force yourself into a shabby profile. (Just keep in mind that Facebook is currently recruiters’ second most popular network of choice.)

While Kashmir refers to Facebook specifically, we think the discussion is broader. We believe you should focus your attention on having an online presence–but do it in a way that makes sense for you. Find the social network you feel fits you best as a person and/or professional, and start there. There are many ways to showcase your personality, a creative video bio on YouTube or a picture portfolio on Pinterest, for example. Also, if you have a blog, or write guest blogs for other bloggers, you can easily establish an online persona that shows off your professional skills, as well as your personal interests.

Conclusion: You want to be visible online, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, a blog or any other social platform. If you find yourself shying away from social platforms, it doesn’t mean you’re predisposed to isolation or criminal behavior (we hope). It often means you just haven’t found your footing. We recommend starting with LinkedIn. Create a profile and connect with people you know to get comfortable. Once you’re familiar with one network, you will likely start dipping your toe in to test the waters of other social networks.

6 Social Networks to Leverage in Your Job Search

July 16, 2012

Social networks offer benefits and opportunities that job seekers can leverage during the job search. Does that mean that you should have a profile on all of them? If you’re so inclined, sure! But you can also select the networks that make the most sense for you and your industry.

To help you determine which network is right for you, here is our overview of the 6 most popular social networks and their specific benefits:

1. LinkedIn
According to a new Jobvite survey, LinkedIn remains the dominant recruiting network, used by 93% of the respondents. Employers worldwide are on the site, and you may link with them directly by building a profile that outlines your experience. Showcasing your skills and talents on LinkedIn will help the right people and opportunities find their way to you.

Tip: Keep your profile up-to-date with your latest work information. Don’t forget to include a well-written summary that holds keywords and touches on your experience, interests, and goals.

2. Twitter
Twitter can be overwhelming for first-timers, but, with a little bit of patience, you can build a great network and connect with industry leaders or recruiters. You’ll have the opportunity to show them just how interested people are in what you have to say, and they will learn about your status in the industry. It can also increase your visibility and add to your credibility as a professional.

Tip: Use websites like WeFollow.com and Twellow.com to identify key influencers and industry leaders.  Once you follow them, listen and learn!

3. Facebook
What recruiters and employers like about Facebook is that it bridges the gap between personal and professional life. Image is everything. Your Facebook profile displays your personality and employers can better determine how you’ll fit into the company culture. Make your profile authentic, and showcase your ideal image. For more information check out our previous blog post on Facebook’s importance in the job search.

Tip: Make use of job searching apps like BranchOut and BeKnown to target your job search. ‘Like’ companies that interest you, and engage in conversation on their page. It’s a great way to connect with potential employers.

4. Pinterest
What better way to show off your newest design, or the delicious dishes you cooked up in your kitchen? If you are an aspiring artist or a chef in the making, Pinterest is A MUST for you! Photo sharing is one of the most popular features of social networks, so use Pinterest as a portfolio of your work.

Tip: In lieu of, or in addition to, posting a regular written resume, use Pinterest as a way to create a visual representation of your resume or professional experience. Create boards for your work experience, awards and accomplishments, degrees or classes, a portfolio of your work, and even your hobbies and interests. (Click here to see how it’s done!)

5. YouTube
Yet another great network for a creative professional! You can utilize YouTube to create a more effective and interactive online experience for employers, rather than just falling back on the good old resume.

Tip: Thinking about a video resume? Keep it short, a minute or two, and explain your background in a story-like fashion. Also specify why you are the best person for this job and what value you would bring to this organization with the skills you possess.

6. Google+
Google+ has established itself as a social network for people that are interested in the tech industry, including early adopters, social influencers and tech innovators. It’s a great place to showcase expertise and learn from others. And since Google controls much of search traffic, your Google+ profile will be found more easily, adding extra value to this relatively new network.

Tip: Google+ Sparks are topics you might be interested in, and a good way to keep track of what’s happening in your industry. Search by keyword to find news and information, and save your searches, which will then show up under Sparks on your profile page for quick access.

Any other social networks you’ve had success with during your job search? Do tell!

Job Seekers Beware – 9 Major Social Media Pitfalls!

June 18, 2012

Without a doubt, social media offers a variety of benefits and opportunities for job seekers. However, as much as we encourage you to take advantage of the pluses, we also want you to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Here’s our list of the 9 major social media pitfalls to dodge during your job search:

1. Lying about your work history and qualifications

Doing this in any way, shape or form is a NO-GO! The rise of social media profiles makes it A LOT easier for potential employers to catch false information. Nobody likes a cheater! Your work experience, as shown on LinkedIn or Facebook, should match the resume that you hand to employers. Your information should be consistent across all networks.

2. Posting offensive comments anywhere social

Any use of profanity or offensive language will reflect negatively upon you, so avoid status updates and comments that could be interpreted as racist, sexist, criminal or discriminatory in any way (even if you assume that no one would take it seriously…someone could, and that someone shouldacoulda been your boss.)

3. Badmouthing a former employer, colleague, supervisor…etc.
This should be a no-brainer, but surprisingly enough, many people still air-out dirty laundry about past or current employment situations without considering the consequences. If you give someone the impression that you’ll badmouth them once you part ways, it’s unlikely they’ll even consider you. Also, beware the “I’m so bored,” or “this work stinks” posts. They reek of “lazy bum.” And, of course, revealing any snippet of confidential company information is 100% off-limits.

4. Not doing good with your grammar. (doing well!)
Yes, even with 140 characters in a tweet, using correct grammar is key! How many job postings do you see with “strong written and/or verbal communication skills” as REQUIREMENTS? These aren’t optional anymore. So don’t make a poor first impression by using subpar grammar. If your Facebook posts are consistently sporting spelling errors, incorrect usage, or odd abbreviations, potential employers don’t ignore them. Check your grammar and spelling to make sure that it’s top notch.

5. Sharing questionable pictures.
Whenever you upload a new photo, keep in mind that the wrong picture could easily go viral. Your friends might decide to share the pictures on their (public) networks. Or, even worse, they tagged you, and now all someone has to do is type your name into a search engine, and voilà… Look. At. You. Don’t let this happen. Adjust your privacy settings so prior approval of tags is required, and keep any inappropriate pictures offline (and as far away from potential employers as possible). What’s “inappropriate”? See grandma rule from former blog!

6. Venting, venting…and more venting.
We understand that there are days where you need to let off some steam, but as tempting as it may be to express your anger and frustration with 1000 of your closest friends on Facebook or Twitter, it may come back to haunt you. Think potential employers may see it as a sign of emotional instability? (Duh.) So if you’re angry or upset, give yourself time to cool off, or go to the gym and sweat it out. Never post anything in the heat of the moment.

7. Oversharing
Social networks encourage you to share information with your friends, but there are limits. One way to avoid this is to not make your online presence all about you. Share some interesting articles and videos. That way you’ll show that you have something meaningful to say other than what’s on TV tonight or what your doctor says about your intestinal problems. In short: know what to share, when to share it and with whom. Maintain a level of professional aloofness by limiting the content you upload.

8. Joining questionable groups or discussions
Who doesn’t enjoy networking with like-minded people? If you are actively searching for a job in a certain field, joining industry related discussions and groups is a great way of showing initiative and passion for a field. However, be careful about the more ‘casual’ groups you are joining. If you belong to “I don’t get drunk, I get awesome!” you might want to reconsider the talents you boast to the online universe. And, clearly, any discriminatory groups fall under the category of BAD IDEA.

9. Ignoring what everyone’s saying on your networks  
Pay attention. You probably won’t have time to check all your networks regularly (seeing how there’s a new one every week), so using a social monitoring service like Reppler will help you manage your professional online image across the different networks. With Reppler, you’ll receive instant notification if there is inappropriate content on any of your profiles. The sooner you fix the content, the better.

What Employers Are Looking For When They Screen Your Social Networks

May 21, 2012

It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers are going to sneak a peek at your social networks during the application process. But do you know what they’re actually sifting through your profiles to find? In a recent Reppler survey, we asked hiring managers if they have ever hired a candidate as a result of their social networking site content, and, if so, what specific factors influenced their decisions.

These were the Top 5 “it” factors they reported:

  1. The candidate gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit.
  2. The profile supported their professional qualifications.
  3. The profile showed that the candidate was creative.
  4. The candidate demonstrated solid communication skills.
  5. The profile showed that the candidate was well-rounded.

On the flip-side, we also wanted to know how hiring managers responded to any questionable social media content. Jennifer King, HR analyst at Software Advice, interviewed several recruiters and hiring managers to shed some light on this subject.*

There’s good news in that, while some recruiters outright reject candidates based on their social network content, others prefer to give the candidate a chance for redemption. That being said, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a chance to explain any or every raging weekend party picture. To be safe, we always recommend implementing the “grandma test” to keep profiles in check. If grandma wouldn’t be ok with it, don’t share it! Even if your privacy settings are set to “Friends only”, you never know who might gain access to your profile, or what your connections will share. Nothing that you put online is private!

Amy Henderson, account executive with Technisource, and one of King’s interviewees, offers this conclusion, “Perception is reality in the business world. The way people perceive you online, through social media–that’s what they use to make first impressions. And those first impressions are lasting impressions.”

*For more insights, check out the full article by Jennifer King.

Graduation Time: Get Your Social Networks Job Search Ready

May 8, 2012

Happy graduation month! While there is much to celebrate, most of you are aware that the “next step” clock is ticking away. What lies ahead? What happens now?

According to a recent Associated Press article, 1 in 2 new college graduates are jobless or underemployed. And job opportunities in popular fields, including education, healthcare, fine arts and humanities are in limited supply. The highly competitive job market forces all job seekers, especially recent grads, to step up their game, and social media provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

In Reppler’s recent survey, 91% of employers said they use social networks to screen applicants. Social networks can go beyond the scope of resumes and cover letters, granting employers insights into your personality and character. These insights can help assess your compatibility with both the position and a company’s overall culture. Take advantage! Your personality, achievements and interests need to convince employers that you’re a great fit–and a wise investment.

Unfortunately, for all the benefits social media provides, you can’t ignore its dark side. Everything written or published on the web stays. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey, 34% of hiring managers find negative and inappropriate material on social networks that causes them to eliminate candidates. This material includes, but is not limited to (Hint: This is what you want to avoid!):
·         References to alcohol and drug abuse
·         Sexually explicit photos
·         Derogatory language
·         Bad-mouthing former employers/co-workers

To show our support for new graduates (and, of course, anyone else in search of a job), we’re going to be providing a series of posts around job searching with social media throughout May. Stay tuned to find out what potential employers want to see on social networks, what pitfalls to avoid and which networks to leverage in your job search.

Your Professional Online Image Has Been Tainted – What Now?

April 17, 2012

Whether you’re a recent graduate in search of a new job, or a working professional looking to take the next step in your career, owning and managing your online image is crucial. As we all know, anything goes online, and the sheer size of the web gives anyone with a connection access your good, bad and ugly, alike.

If you’ve come across negative information about you online, here are steps to help build yourself back up:

1.   Know what’s out there, so there are no surprises.
Google your name, and take a close look at the first few pages. Since online screening has become an important part of the hiring process, it’s key to be aware of the information that’s out there about you. If you know what’s out there, you’ll be prepared to address any inquiries.

2.   Be upfront and proactive.
If you do end up having to field questions regarding negative online content, take the proactive approach. Be honest about what’s being said and why, and share how you are going to respond.

3.   Have it removed (or remove it yourself).
The longer you wait to remove unsavory content, the further it could spread. If you posted something inappropriate on your social media accounts, simply delete it. If someone else posted a negative comment, ask them to remove it. If the other party is unwilling to comply, consider raising the stakes and taking legal action. Also, if the damage to your reputation is substantial, consider a professional reputation management service that will help you remove content.

4.   Create your own content.
Many employers will only look at the first few pages after entering your name in search engines. By posting your own content, you can help push down any negative content and showcase your own positive content. Traditional blogs, video blogs and social media profiles rank high on search engines, so create as much positive content as possible. Also, consider deleting unused accounts that might contain outdated personal information.

With vigilance and initiative, negative online content can be resolved. But it’s always a good idea to be proactive–taking steps to ensure that YOU are the one dictating your online reputation.

Managing Your Online Image Across Social Networks

September 27, 2011

Today, we are launching a new version of Reppler, which adds support for Twitter and LinkedIn, among other things.  But before we get into the details of the new version, let us explain the big picture problem we are addressing.

We recently conducted a survey of 300 professionals who are involved in the hiring process at their company to understand the use of social networks for screening job applicants.  The results of this survey are shown in this infographic:

So what do these results really tell us?  From our perspective, there are three key takeaways:

  1. Whether you like it or not, hirers are using social networks to screen job applicants.  This means it is important to carefully manage your image on these types of sites.
  2. Facebook and Twitter are being used a lot to screen job applicants.  On Facebook and Twitter, we believe hirers are trying to get a more personal view of a candidate, rather than the resume-like view they will see on LinkedIn.
  3. Hirers are looking at the social networking profiles of candidates very early in the process.  This means that job seekers need to have their online act in order before they begin looking for a job.

The bottom line is that it is important for users, whether they are looking for a job or building up their professional reputation, to manage their online image across the different social networks they use.  And this is the big picture problem we are addressing with the new version of Reppler.

The features in the new version of Reppler include:

  • Support for Twitter and LinkedIn – Reppler now supports Twitter and LinkedIn, in addition to the support for Facebook it currently has.
  • Cross-Network Analysis – In addition to monitoring each of these services to provide you feedback on the tone of language used, inappropriate content found, and other potential issues and risks identified, Reppler provides cross-network analysis in a couple areas.  It looks at all of your connections across the social networks you use to inform you on the makeup of your connections.  For example, Reppler will show you how many of your professional connections on LinkedIn are also friends of yours on Facebook.  Reppler also provides a comparison matrix of your profile information on each social network so you can see if there are any inconsistencies in how you are presenting yourself.
  • The Reppler Image Score – Reppler calculates what we call the Reppler Image Score, a measure that takes into account a variety of elements that can affect your online image – the completeness of information in your profiles, the consistency of your information across different social networks, the tone of your content, the appropriateness of your content, the number of people you are connected to, etc.
  • Weekly Updates – Reppler automatically sends you a weekly email that summarizes activity across your social networks that could affect your online image.  This keeps you abreast of any issues and gives you the opportunity to take action before it is too late.

That’s a quick overview of the new version of Reppler.  Now you can effectively manage your online image across the different social networks you use.  Reppler is a free service and you can sign up by going to www.reppler.com.  If you have any feedback or questions, go to our Facebook Page and leave us a message on our Wall.

A Guide for Creating A Professional Image on LinkedIn

September 23, 2011

LinkedIn, the leading professional network on the web, is an indispensable resource for job seekers and professionals. Besides offering unique networking opportunities with professionals from all industries, a LinkedIn profile can help to offset any negative content about you online. LinkedIn has currently more than 100 million users, and its members comprise 170 different industries, and include 130,000 recruiters who use the network to search for potential candidates on a daily basis. Furthermore, all Fortune 500 companies are represented on LinkedIn, so it is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to help you in your job search. Here are some tips on how to build a strong online presence on LinkedIn.

6 Tips for LinkedIn

Your Profile Picture

Your public picture is the first thing people will notice on your profile. Faces are often easier to remember than names, so adding a picture will help others identify you when adding you as a connection on LinkedIn. A clear, up-to-date, professional-looking headshot of you with a clear background is a great way to make a good first impression.

Write a Summary

The summary provides you with an opportunity to show who you are and what you do. Be as concise and specific as possible, but also use it as a tool to engage with people and draw in their attention. Don’t forget to include a catchy headline!

Fill Out the Bio

One of the reasons why LinkedIn is a popular tool among recruiters is that users have to be honest in their Bios, as most of them have previous employers and colleagues in their LinkedIn network. Any lies and exaggerations are easy to catch. Just like in your regular resume, accentuate your strengths and highlights, while providing context around your job responsibilities.

Optimize Your Profile

To get the most out of your LinkedIn resume, you need to include keywords and skills from your resume in your profile. LinkedIn has the ability to search any word in the content, and if you list all relevant keywords at the bottom of the page, it will make it easier for your profile to be found in search results.

Get Recommendations

One of the unique features of LinkedIn is the recommendation section, which gives potential employers the opportunity to read a reference in advance. People with strong references have better chances to be selected for an interview or for a job. Avoid exchanging meaningless recommendations with your friends, and rather focus on quality recommendations from people who have benefited from your work. Ask for benefits and results driven recommendations from people who’ve seen you in action and the best way to get recommendations is to give them, so take the time to write recommendations for some of your contacts, and hopefully they will reciprocate.

Build Your Network Before You Need It

Whether you are currently in search of a job or are just browsing the job market for new career opportunities, having a strong network can be a good form of job security. Don’t wait until it gets rough to build your network! In most cases it is much easier to build a relationship with someone you already know than with someone you just met.  Also, keep in mind that networking is not a one way street. It’s not just about what others can do for you, but also what you can do for others. Make the most of your networking opportunities and use LinkedIn as a tool to build a strong professional online image.

A Guide for Managing Your Professional Image on Twitter

September 16, 2011

Next to Facebook, Twitter is one of the most popular social recruiting platforms with over 100 million active users. If managed correctly, it can be a great tool for building your professional image. You can show off your expertise and engage with industry leaders and companies that you are interested in. By creating a Twitter profile, you have the opportunity to show them just how interested people are in what you have to say, and they will learn about your status in the industry. It will also increase your visibility and add to your credibility as a professional. More and more companies are using Twitter to seek new employees, but there are some common pitfalls users have to be aware off. The following guide provides some tips on how you can create a professional image on Twitter to propel your job search.

6 Tips for Twitter

Become an Expert in Your Field

Use status updates to tweet about industry topics, tips, and advice. Look for key influencers and industry leaders and follow them. If you see interesting material, re-tweet it or try to engage in a discussion. You might not get a response the first time around, but if you continuously contribute meaningful content to discussions, you will eventually be noticed.

Create an Informative Profile

Give concise information as to what you are all about, state a clear purpose and include a professional headshot as your profile picture. Make use of keywords that are applicable to your background and experience in order to catch the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.

Promote Yourself

Post links to your work and don’t be afraid to promote yourself in a responsible, non-annoying way (Don’t blatantly self-promote!). Add a link to your website, blog or LinkedIn account. Your profile’s main link should direct followers to the most relevant and engaging part of your website.

Monitor What Others Say About You

Your success on Twitter is measured by how much you are engaged in conversation, how often your tweets are re-tweeted and how many people are talking about you. You should always monitor what others are saying about you. To monitor yourself, enter your twitter handle (@yourname) in the search box or install TweetDeck on your desktop and then set up a search column for your Twitter handle. All tweets related to you will appear.

Follow the Companies That Interest You

If you already know what companies you would like to work for, ‘follow’ them! Just like with key influencers and industry leaders, try to engage with potential employers by posting meaningful comments and starting discussions.

Locate Job Search Resources

There a lot of resources on Twitter devoted to help users that are looking for new career opportunities. Search out recruiters, ‘follow’ them and don’t be afraid to note in your bio that you are looking for a new job. If you let people know what you are looking for, you’ll find many people happy to help you in your job search.

If you use Twitter effectively and responsibly, it can be a great starting point in your job search. But never forget how important it is to maintain a professional online image!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Job Search via Facebook

July 27, 2011

Facebook has become more than just a platform to connect with friends and family. Unemployment is high, and more and more job seekers are searching for work in rather unconventional places. Studies show that nearly 25% of job seekers around the world are now searching Facebook for new employment opportunities. With over 750 million users, Facebook provides a great opportunity to make personal and professional connections. However, before you start the job hunt on Facebook, there are a couple of rules that you should follow; otherwise your Facebook profile might actually hurt your chances to find a job. Here is a quick guide on the Do’s and Don’ts of job search via Facebook.


Clean up and monitor your profile!

Using Facebook as a tool for your job search requires you to clean up your profile before you start networking with other professionals and companies. While it might be easy for you to control the content of your posts and pictures, you have less control over what your friends are posting on your Wall. By the time you notice inappropriate content on your profile, it might already be too late and a potential employer might see it first. Signing up for a reputation monitoring service like Reppler helps you to ensure that your online reputation stays intact.

Showcase yourself professionally!

Contrary to pure professional networks like LinkedIn, Facebook gives you an opportunity to showcase your professional AND personal interests. While your resume and cover letter only convey your professional skills, your Facebook profile will show off your personality, which for some companies is just as important. At the same time, don’t forget to fill out the Bio and the Work and Education section, as companies will likely look at those first.

Search for company profiles!

Facebook has thousands of company profiles, so make use of company pages that you are interested in by liking or joining their pages. That way, you will get more information about the company, and you might even find information about job openings. Don’t hesitate to participate in discussions to show your knowledge and expertise, but remember to maintain a professional attitude. If possible, engage in conversation with employees from that company.

Join groups/fields related to your industry!

By joining a group with people in the industry that you are interested in, you will get access to like-minded people that you can network with. It also gives you a chance to learn more about your field of interest. Don’t hesitate to share links to articles in your status updates; it shows that you do your research and have a genuine interest in the industry.

Make use of Facebook applications like BranchOut and BeKnown!

Facebook Apps like BranchOut and BeKnown can be used as part of your job search on Facebook. Once you sign up, you will find out who in your Facebook network is connected to the companies that you would like to work for. At the same time, companies and individuals can post job openings for free, which you can share among your friends.


Refrain from angry posts!

Employers look at your Facebook profile to find out more about your personality. Don’t vent online when someone or something upsets you. Potential employers might be hesitant to hire you if the tone of the language on your Wall is constantly negative. Also refrain from using derogatory language or any type of profanity.

Don’t badmouth your current or previous employer!

If you give employers the idea that you will tarnish their image once you part ways with the company, it is unlikely that they will hire you in the first place. Also, if you are currently employed, don’t forget any confidentiality and conduct agreements you’ve signed. If you violate your contract, you might end up jobless while you are hunting for a new position.

Don’t post controversial content or pictures!

Think twice before you post anything that reveals questionable behavior or habits. Avoid pictures that show too much skin (bikinis, underwear), excessive alcohol or reveal your party habits. Make sure that you un-tag yourself from images that others posts if the content is inappropriate.

Don’t be afraid to be creative!

Last but not least, have fun and express yourself responsibly. There are plenty of ways you can create a positive self-image, and if you follow some basic guidelines, Facebook can be a great tool to propel your job search.