BY VICTORIA KRUKENKAMP
SC Staff Writer
After years of professional encouragement to minimize their online social networking to be considered a viable candidate for a job, students now find it difficult to accept the idea of participating in the online community created by the professional networking site LinkedIn.
“While the picture on Facebook of you drinking at a concert with smeared makeup is not so flattering,” said retail manager Christy Drew, “LinkedIn can be a very important tool to use in obtaining prominence in your desired field.”
Drew explained that she has been a member of the site since shortly after its launch in 2003, however she has only been able to really understand its impact and put it to use over the past few years.
“I’ve used it from both sides of the spectrum,” she said. “I’ve found potential employees on it, but I also secured my latest position because of it.”
Drew explained that she often used Google searches when she was reviewing applications for positions in her store. While she finds Facebook and other networking sites reliable sources to determine the personal character of candidates, she thinks that a well put together and public LinkedIn page can tell her even more about the candidate’s eligibility for a position.
“If they’re networked with many other people in the field, and if they’ve subscribed to relevant groups on the site, I see them as better candidates than people who have no social media presence, or those who have that infamous Facebook profile picture,” said Drew.
Drew went on to explain that she has become increasingly frustrated with private profiles on Facebook and Twitter. She would rather see the whole profile, or nothing at all.
“What are they hiding?” she asked. “It’s one of the first things I look at, even before I call a candidate for an interview. If you’re going to make your profiles private, then make it so they’re not searchable either. Google yourself before you start applying for a job, and fix what you wouldn’t want me to see.”
Drew said that she became aware of the opening for her latest position through networking with the hiring manager of the company. While she was a hiring manager herself with her last job, she had spent time networking with other hiring managers in order to improve her skills and communicate with others in her position.
“She just sent me a message letting me know about the open position, and asking me if I knew anyone who would be interested,” said Drew. “Well, I was interested! So I messaged her back, we set up an interview, and I got the job.”
Drew’s advice also included to best way to present your LinkedIn profile.
“It’s not your resume,” she said. “Only list the highlights of your education and career, not every last detail. Trim the fat.”
For example, the site gives its subscribers an opportunity to describe the positions that they list, and Drew’s advice is to list relevant awards and accolades in that space.
“Don’t tell me what you did on a day to day basis,” said Drew. “I know what is required of a Store Manager, and we can talk about your specific experiences at the interview.”
The LinkedIn profile picture is also important to Drew. She explains that it must convey a measure of professionalism, but that it also must show a fun and approachable personality.
“It can’t be a ‘selfie’ in your bathroom mirror, and it can’t be a stiff and unapproachable mess,” said Drew. “It has to be clear, and clean, and focused on your smiling face.”
Drew ended her advice by emphasizing the importance of networking in order to become successful in your future career.
“The one thing I didn’t learn until I was already a professional, that I think you need to know, is that your working life is all about networking,” Drew said. “When you have a voice in the world, and people know who you are–even if its only online–you get ahead faster and further because of it.”
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