As my Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems course mates and I work our way through our final professional portfolios, we are also exploring how various social media outlets may enhance and hinder our professional presence as we conduct job searches and craft our careers. The two outlets we are discussing this week are LinkedIn and Facebook. We have been asked to ponder if LinkedIn is useful to searching for jobs and how LinkedIn and Facebook profiles differ.
As for whether or not LinkedIn is useful for job hunting, the simple answer is a resounding YES. The benefits of being able to network on a global scale alone increases the chances of finding the right fit as well as creating jobs that do not exist. Also, being able to search for, research, and link to company websites based upon preferences such as industries and locations is a massive benefit no job search website such as Monster or SimplyHired has been able to offer before. I personally find the idea of having an online professional presence as necessary in this day and age to the point that I have created profiles through numerous outlets such as Twitter, AboutMe, and Facebook, but LinkedIn takes the networking to a whole new level by providing a way for people to connect with each other. Another benefit is having a resume online which can be referenced in emails and other digital communication which saves time and money. LinkedIn does have some disadvantages such as having your current employer be made aware that you are searching for other opportunities. Also, the likelihood for potential employers to make judgements about what they see on your LinkedIn profile is much higher which could result in losing out on a position.
When considering how ubiquitous the use of social media has become in every aspect of our lives, both professional and personal, it is only natural to be concerned about what happens when the display of these two aspects of life do not portray the same picture. LinkedIn was designed to be used in a professional capacity while Facebook was not. It was designed for socializing. Discrepancies between home and work agendas can cause conflict because of lack of understanding and context. For example, as a teacher in a small, close community, I was warned by employers not to post morally questionable content which could be misconstrued in the wrong context. Think about going out to celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary and having a glass of champagne, posting the event on Facebook for your family and friends to also enjoy, then receive a reprimand at work on Monday after one of your students’ parents saw it and complained. I actually created a 2nd Facebook account to act as my professional Facebook account especially with the increase in news and advertising content relevant to user activity and preferences, but keeping up with so many different accounts has become cumbersome with no time to maximize the benefits of their use for job searching.