Social Networking Tools = Employment?

At the recent Co-Working event held at Firecat Studios the discussion came around to what employers are looking for now in new hires. As a self-employed gal who gladly left Corporate America years ago, normally this type of talk has me going through my grocery list while tuning out. However this time was different. What I found fascinating about this was that one of the new criteria for employment consideration is familiarity with Social Networking Tools. Things like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to name a few.

I had to stop the conversation to make sure I had heard right. You mean the stuff that most folks get into trouble doing at work is now what could get you hired? The answer surprised me. While it isn’t the only criteria used to make an employment choice, it certainly can put an applicant on the short list.

Now let me clarify this point a bit before you go off and amend your resume. It isn’t enough for someone to say they have knowledge of the Social Networking Tools. Nope. Having a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account is all fine and dandy. Sure, signing up is easy. The real test is how you have used the Social Networking Tools.

Do you participate?

For example, if you signed up for Twitter back in March 2007 during SXSW and haven’t used it much since, it might be time to dust off your account and rattle off some tweets. Thought Facebook was for college kids? Not anymore. You’d be surprised at who and what you’ll find there. Wonder about the value of LinkedIn? It’s where you’ll find some of these new hires that not only get it, but love it.

Don’t know where to start? Friend a few folks and get to know the community. Slowly but surely you’ll find yourself not only understanding the value of these tools, but having a good time in the process. Still not sure if this is for you? Well let’s take it one step at a time. You can always start with me.