Facebook: the new cyber CV

Job hunters beware - employers are increasingly checking out networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to get a feel for prospective employees.

Fiona Hewitt, director of Brand YOU, says while some are just "checking out drunken photos on Facebook", savvy employers are using these sites as a recruitment tool to assess people's public persona and reputation.

And whether you're job hunting or preparing for a promotion, there's never been a better time to define your personal brand and boost your professional visibility.

In this "incredibly competitive" market in which there's plenty of uncertainty, Hewitt says you need to stand out through "working out who you are and showcasing your talents to others".

Employers want to know how you can strengthen existing client relationships, attract new clients or build new revenue streams. Having a strong personal brand helps them understand who you are and what you can do for them.

Hewitt says few people convey their value clearly and concisely in interviews and networking.

Promoting yourself online has become an increasingly important career and business management tool. Having a website in your own name that communicates crisply what you can do, lists your accomplishments and includes samples of your work is a primary way to project your brand.

If a prospective employee can refer their interviewer to their website, they will gain a competitive advantage over others and stand out instantly because few job hunters are doing this, Hewitt says.

Having a network of people who can recommend you helps your chances of bagging a job. Online professional networking platforms, such as Linkedin, are another good place to start publicising the value you can offer.

But internet marketing expert Debbie Mayo-Smith says it doesn't pay off if you're "the kind of person who waits for things to happen". To benefit, you must be proactive in working tools such as Linkedin. And they still tend to be used by a particular demographic, which may not be your target market.

Many owners of small to medium-sized businesses are too busy to trawl for them through cyberspace, she says. Her approach to Linkedin is to survey the contacts of anyone she connects with, looking for anyone to whom she would like to be introduced.

She also recommends joining groups through the site to which potential employers may belong as a means of making a connection and raising your profile.

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook also provide public platforms for exhibiting your personal brand, and Hewitt says awareness has grown that potentially, employers are looking at these profiles. "Employers are definitely using social media to check what people do," she says.

Another cost-effective tool to make yourself "a much slicker package in the marketplace" is developing an authoritative blog or answering questions online within your expertise area.

Mayo-Smith says building a personal brand online suits creative people and those in certain professions, but "everyday people" who've lost their jobs won't be rewarded for the effort required. They are better off identifying how they can transfer their skills to a less vulnerable industry and mixing with people involved in it.

Simon Pomeroy, recruitment manager at Air New Zealand, says when screening a candidate he looks to see if they have a Facebook page and what behaviour they're portraying to get a better idea about them.

"You can get a strong sense of someone's dynamic," he says. "And yes, it certainly influences whether we think someone's going to be a good fit for the organisation."

But less emphasis is placed on social media sites than professional networking ones.

His team uses Linkedin "extensively" to build lists of names and searches to see what has been written about them.

On other occasions he'll search someone he's heard about but feels may not be a fit in terms of their values and how they promote themselves.

When the company hired a regional general manager in China, he hadn't met the candidate, who'd come from another airline.

"We hadn't really got an idea what his track record was. Reading articles and seeing interviews about him, we got a good sense of his drivers. That was invaluable in us employing him."

Such online research is "critical" for roles in which the company needs to ensure a candidate is culturally aligned to the airline's brand.

Paul Jacobs of Engage recruitment says some graduate recruiters are considering ditching their traditional recruitment drives this year to focus their efforts on platforms such as Facebook.

And in an interesting twist, graduates overseas have turned the tables and targeted employers with Facebook ads.

Jacobs is about to launch a new social platform with a professional twist - TribeHQ - to connect people from the same occupational "tribe".

Members can converse with employers about their work culture and job vacancies and companies can tap directly into a targeted community of talent.

This article is from the New Zealand Herald

ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power