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June 20, 2014
Career Momentum Through Social Networking
 

The average attention span in the year 2000 was 12 seconds. In 2013, it was down to eight seconds.

That means: A. Bull riding really is the perfect entertainment, and B. If you want someone to notice you on a social network, be brilliant and brief.

Social networking has become so passé, it’s taken for granted that we know how to use it. But when you need a job, it’s worth considering more deeply; after all, 85% of employers are influenced by online reputation. The kinds of photos you post to Facebook or the comments you leave about your cousin’s Instagram kitten photos aren’t productive nor conducive to the kind of response you need on job-related sites.
 

Do you have the basics covered? Here are three simple elements that may need more focus.

  1. Your photo: No, recruiters aren’t judgmental schmucks, but they do see photos and extrapolate a bit of cultural nuance. Your photo should reflect the kind of person you are, but more specifically, the kind of person you want to be at work. If you see yourself working in a place that thrives on creativity, opt for a picture with a few distinctive accents — like a super-fly bow-tie. It’ll take them one second to process your picture, and you want to ensure they spend the next seven reading more.

  1. Your headline: Take a hint from advertising. The headline of your social networking profile (aka your tagline space) is often overlooked or used to present your current title. In fact, it’s like any headline for a daily or blog; it’s what catches someone’s eye. This should be a compelling statement about what you do or want to do in the work world. Make it distinctive. How? Be true to yourself, but get friendly with a dictionary. This is a searchable section for recruiters and the words you use will bring your profile up to the forefront. And remember, you’re now working with seven seconds of attention. If your statement is convoluted, they may not have the patience to figure it out. If it’s too generic, they may lack patience to keep digging to understand why you’re “the one."

  1. Your summary: Consistency matters. When writing your summary, make sure it aligns to the other components of your profile. State what differentiates your work and products, but don’t feel you must cover how skilled you are with experiential, for example, if you really want to work on traditional campaigns. Keep what you present about yourself focused. Include just the elements that show off the skills you want to be using in the future. You’re probably down to four seconds now, so pull out that old thesaurus and make your words work hard for you.

Remember that social networking profiles are not your resume. It’s a chance for you to put forward the kind of position you want to have, not just what you have had. Show that ideal self clearly and succinctly, and get the right attention — then the right job.  


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Jacqueline Debien leads organizational development and learning for total brand experience agency Momentum Worldwide. She creates solutions that empower the organization to capitalize on talent, and empower talent to fulfill their professional aspirations. She is also a professional coach – certified in Predictive Index, Discovery Insights – and has a Master’s in Industrial/Organization Psychology.
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