51% of Employers Pass on Applicants Due to Social Media: How Social Media Can Hurt Or Help Your Career.

How to Use Social Media to NOT Land a Job.

According to a New CareerBuilder Survey, the number of Employers passing on applicants due to Social Media Posts continues to rise. This year 51% of employers said they have found content that caused them to not hire a candidate, up from 43% last year and 34% in 2012. An additional 12% don’t research candidates on social media, but plan to start.

What are they finding that’s eliminating candidates from consideration?

The most common social media reasons to exclude a job candidate:

  • Posting provocative or inappropriate photographs or information (46%)
  • Posting information about them drinking or using drugs (41%)
  • Bad-mouthing previous company or fellow employee (36%)

The most common social media reasons to hire a candidate:

  • Feel for candidate’s personality – see good fit with company culture (46%)
  • Background information supported professional qualifications for job (45%)
  • Site conveyed a professional image (43)

How to Use Social Media to Land a Job.

The Society for Human Resource Management survey reports that 77% of organizations use social networks to recruit, 69% use social networks to target and recruit candidates with specific skill sets and 57% use social networks to make it easy for potential candidates to contact their organization about employment. Career coach Miriam Salpeter suggests using the strategies below to land a job via social media.

Take advantage of employer’s reaching out to you in social media:

  1. Use every network that makes sense for you.
  2. Be active on networks that take advantage of your best skills.
  3. Identify your target audience, “like” and engage with them.
  4. Visit, “like” or “follow” the companies that interest you.
  5. Optimize profiles with keywords employers use to search for someone like you.

How to Use Personal Branding to Land a Job

“Personal branding” is a term first used by Tom Peters in a 1997 article. Your personal brand refers to how others perceive you, how they consider your knowledge and skills and the things that make you unique and different. Today the prevalence of social media makes personal branding more important than ever. With so many employers searching social profiles, you should spend some time figuring out your personal brand. Then let your personal branding strategy drive your social profiles and your social content. Brand relationship trainer Maria Elena Duron suggests starting to create your personal brand by answering the questions below.

Find your unique promise of value by considering these questions:

  1. What does my personal brand promise to my clients and customers?
  2. How will I consistently deliver that promise?
  3. How will I make people remember my promise?
  4. How can I ensure my brand promise is unique and memorable?

I am currently reading Sally Hogshead’s new book How The World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through The Science of Fascination. Sally is a former advertising copywriter who is now applying what she learned in branding products and services to branding people. Her system comes with an online assessment and ways to create an anthem of your highest distinct value expressed in 49 personality archetypes.

I discovered my personality archetype is Avant-Garde which lead to my anthem of “Delivering Enterprising Vision With Resourceful Action.” For the Spring I am incorporating these insights and resources into my classes at Johns Hopkins University. I have developed a graduate course 663.610 Personal Branding & Writing for the Web, plus added personal branding to my 661.454 Blogging & Digital Copywriting course.

Have you thought about how your social media activity affects your career? How can you use social media to find career opportunities? Have you followed a personal branding exercise and integrated it across all your social media accounts and activity?

Return On Relationship: Thanks Ted For Living It

The other day I got a direct message from Jeff Bullas. I was excited. Jeff has a great blog jeffbullas.com that gives a lot of good blogging and social media advice. He’s a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer, has written books and speaks and consults. His blog gets over 4 million page views a year. Jeff’s direct message on Twitter said, “Thanks for following me. I look forward to following your tweets.” With over 225,000 Twitter followers I responded, “I am impressed that with so many followers you do this.” I was looking forward to a conversation, but here it is 10 days later and I have not received a response. Then I noticed that Jeff sent me a direct message before two years ago with the same exact message. Back then I was also excited to start a conversation, but as you can see he never responded then either.

Is Jeff really “looking forward to following my tweets” if he won’t respond to two DMs he initiated? Are my expectations off? Other top social media influencers have decided to reduce or stop their engagement, becoming more like traditional publishers. I love Seth Godin and use a lot of his material in my classes. Unleashing the Ideavirus is a classic that is still very relevant today, but Seth doesn’t allow comments on his blog. He explains why here and he makes a lot of good points for him.

Then there is Copyblogger getting rid of comments. They  just wrote a post explaining “Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger.” They say the conversation has moved to wider platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. They say people put too much effort into great comments on their site and should instead put that effort into their own website. They say they have spent way too much time sorting through the spam – only 4% of comments get posted. This change is a pretty big deal.

I was curious to see the reaction to this big announcement, but they removed comments. Instead they encourage me to let them know my thoughts about the change on Twitter. So I clicked on the link and went to Twitter. Just 12 days later that discussion is lost in a sea of unrelated topics, conversations and blog post promotions as you can see below.

If I scroll down the Twitter stream back to March 24 I do see comments about getting rid of comments, but this seems like a lot of work. At least on the blog all the comments under the post are focused on that topic and do not get lost in everything else. I also appreciate their efforts to weed out the spam, so the comments and conversation is of a higher quality. Moving to Twitter gives up all that control and opens up the floodgates of spam. Besides, I was already on their blog and wanted to talk specifically about that topic. Isn’t copyblogger owned real estate versus rented? Don’t they want to drive people there? Don’t comments help with SEO? This is all the questions I would have liked to ask on their blog, but I suppose I am taking their advice and writing it here on my blog instead.

Less social engagement from social engagement innovators. Is this simply where we are headed? As the innovators of social media engagement get too big, they simply must engage less? There just seems to be something weird about telling others to engage more while you are engaging less. This brings me back to my title. Ted Rubin was just named #13 on the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers of 2013 (Just two down from Jeff) and he has over 196,000 followers on Twitter (the most followed CMO on Twitter). In 2013 he published a book with Kathryn Rose Return on Relationship, which is the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.

Ted Rubin is a busy guy, but he is living what he is preaching. I have had several conversations with him on different social media platforms, and he has even commented on this blog. Thanks Ted. Still are my expectations off? Ted does wear Superman socks. Ted’s not the only one, there are a lot of social media innovators out there like Michael Stelzner who I know are still very active and engaging with their audiences even as they grow.

If I am wrong, let me know. Can relationships be automated? I also suggest checking out Ted’s book. #ROR

If You’re Simply Adding To The Noise, Facebook Will Now Turn Off Your Organic Reach

One of my favorite bands is Switchfoot and their song “Adding to the Noise” is the inspiration for this blog. When I started it four years ago, there were roughly 200,000 million blogs and I couldn’t imagine why the world would need another one. I even wrote a post  “The Last Thing We Need Is Another Blog.”  Ultimately this question lead me to the debate between quantity versus quality. A recent Michael Stelzner podcast interview featured Jeff Goins, a successful blogger and author who had several blog failures when he was chasing subscribers (quantity focus) until he started a passion blog (quality focus) that now has over 200,000 subscribers.

Today Technorati indexes over 1.3 billion blogs and the focus on quality content has become more important than ever. For marketers this noise has been creeping up in another social landscape – Facebook. In August of 2013 Facebook revealed that “every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories … most people don’t have time to see them all.” By December 2013 Ad Age reported “Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads.”

The bottom line is that Facebook has changed its algorithm, formerly called Edgerank, and content from business Pages has seen a drop-off in organic reach. In response, Facebook is urging paid distribution for brands to get back into their fan’s News Feeds. Since the tweak some brands have reported as much as a 40% decrease in organic reach.

Facebook Drop Organic Reach
Decrease in organic reach from Edgerank Checker.

In the end, business may have to increase their Facebook spending to maintain or expand reach, but there could be another option. Switchfoot sings, “What’s it going to take to slow us down … If we’re adding to the noise turn off this song.” Perhaps we need another content revolution. If you provide content people want to engage with, not turn off, you will break through the noise. Brands could up their content game to emerge organically from the noise in users’ News Feeds.

But this revolution is fueled by more than quality content. It is also about quality time. Mari Smith, author of Facebook Marketing an Hour a Day suggests that marketers should focus more on community management. The more your fans like, comment and share your content, the more likely that content will show up in their news feeds.

It seems there is room for improvement in the engagement game. Social Bakers provides social media monitoring tools and has been measuring brand’s engagement levels on social networks. Their recent reports indicate that only 10% of brands respond to 85% of questions on Facebook.

A brand that steps up its engagement game could not only protect its organic reach, but also find a significant competitive advantage. We all love when someone listens to us. When your fans hear from you, their excitement will spread along with your reach and reputation.

Ted Rubin calls this a real Return on Relationship. Fight quantity (clutter & filters) with quality (content & engagement). With every post, update and comment ask yourself, “Is it adding something meaningful or simply adding to the noise?”