Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Will Social Media Applications Kill The Traditional Resume & Offline Networking?

With tools and Networks like Linked In, Social Networking sites like FaceBook, one can question on whether updating your resume in your old Microsoft Word template is even necessary these days. To take it a step further, do you need to go Business School to tap in to an elite network of people? In this blog, I will be touching upon whether today's social media applications will replace the concept of a Resume and the Traditional Offline & Personal Business Network.

Linked In as A Recruiting Background Tool

It is estimated that 85% of Employers pre screening job candidates Google their candidates prior to hiring them. At the top of the Google Search results list you will usally find a Linked In profile, and hopefully not a MySpace Profile! :-) If it is the latter, chances are your not getting hired! These days, recruiters can learn much more about a candidate before and after an interview by the visiting a Linked In Profile. By visiting a candidate's Linked In Profile, you can validate employment, experience, and the network of professionals in which the candidate identifies with. So does this mean there is an end to the traditional resume? Perhaps not now, but certainly in the near future. The trend of emailing your resume is trending down, and applying online seems to be the norm. While there maybe a word version of your resume tucked away on your computer, expect employers in the near future to print out your Linked In profile or Professional Website. This appears to be more apparent as I come across resumes, and it will soon be the norm!

FaceBook Replacing Your Offline Company Networking

With companies such as IBM, and several other Fortune 500 Companies jumping on Facebook networks, you can't deny the fact that it is now a serious corporate tool for professionals. One of it's strengths however is in keeping up with what your colleagues or peers are doing both on and offline; at work or out of work. Some may ask, why would I care about what someone else is doing in another department or what their interests are? Well, I would say that you should see this as an opportunity to strengthen relationships in business, and Facebook makes it possible. Simple posts or updates to your profile give others the opportunity to learn about what your thinking or what your doing, often giving your colleagues the opportunity to comment and take an interest in you. Posting photos sometimes can create a better connection with you or your colleagues as they see photos of you and your family. The platform provides a great opportunity to take an interest in those you work with, while giving others the opportunity to learn more about you.

On the other hand, the same offline rules surrounding professionalism in the workplace apply with online social networking in a business context. Although most people keep 1 profile for personal and professional purposes, I am starting to see more and more individuals creating separate profiles to keep their personal and professional life profiles separate. If you decide to use Facebook professionally, keep your site professional and avoid taking pictures of yourself passed out on the couch at the last Keg party! Avoid any political, or religious views if at all possible, and most of all - keep it professional!!

Facebook Replacing Your Personal Offline Social Networking

When it comes to personal social networking, I have to admit that once I signed up with Facebook, I minimized my offline networking activities. Specifically with with old colleagues, former co workers, and old friends from high school. I used to meet regularly (once a quarter) with some old High School & College friends to catch up on old times. I am now down to 1 or 2 times per year with this specific segment of social activity since I am able to keep up to date with them online. A visit to my FaceBook profile keeps me up to date with what everybody is doing, what restaraunt they went to, what they ate, what movie they saw, and even what they are thinking. Facebook has made it easy to tell your network what your up to especially through its Mobile Applications that are compatible with nearly every browser friendly cell phone. The exception with Online Networking is that you don't get the face to face interaction. So while I do miss the drinking at the bar part, I can usually get virtual drinks gifted to me by several of my old classmates causing me to get Facebook drunk on a daily basis!

Can FaceBook Replace The Network You Get From Business School?

Both my current and former mentors in business have always told me to go to business school, and that "it is worth the money and investment especially for the Network". They then would follow that up with "Try and get into the best school as possible". While they would likely be reading this blog, I have to challenge them and say that these benefits are rapidly diminishing in the age of Facebook. No longer do I need to spend $100,000 in tuition just to tap into an elite network of which most people I will not see ever in my life again after graduation. Tools like Facebook, and Linked In make that possible at no cost!

Just by linking up with people with whom you currently or previously worked with, these tools make it very possible to build and sustain a powerful network of people. If that isn't enough, groups in Facebook make it very possible for you to communicate and collaborate with others who share your same personal, professional, or educational interests. There are many groups on Facebook that contain information that most libraries in business schools would not have since the groups tend to be frequently updated and relevant. In addition, specialized professional groups in your career area have relevant professionals in your field subscribed to them who would be more than glad to help you out. This makes it possible to get expert advice at little to no costs.

So what are your thoughts? Will Social Media Applications Kill The Resume & The Traditional Offline Network?

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