**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches. Each month, all members discuss a certain topic. This month, we are talking about Social Media and our careers. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective. You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.

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Today it seems that everyone from your 10-year-old nephew to your Great Grandmother Mildred has at least a Facebook account filled to the brim with information that you may or may not want them, or other people from divulging – everyone, which includes the same hiring manager you sent your last resume to. Now it’s just much easier for prospective employers to Google your name and find out information about you, your family and your habits. So, what’s the best site and the best methods to keep your personal information private?

With the vast resources of personal data so readily available through social networking sites, it is very tempting for recruiters, HR managers and even yourself, to use these methods to screen prospective employees or to just find out information about an old friend. Microsoft recently released a commissioned study that shows 79% of people will look at an applicants’ online profile. Reviewing a candidates social networking site can help companies know more about how those candidates handle themselves, both personally and professionally. It can also provide information that is illegal to ask during interviews.

It’s true that in today’s world you have to be online in order to get noticed, but what sites are right for keeping your personal information private, while still giving you a measure of freedom online? The most well known sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Myspace all have their ups and downs. Myspace has virtually vanished as a peer-to-peer social media information site in favor of it’s traditional focus as being a music house for artist. Facebook has it’s many detractors thanks to gaping security holes and the ability to gleam information quickly and easily, even after that information has been deleted. Twitter doesn’t really carry the same weight as the other sites, it’s good for quick burst of information but you cannot really customize it in order to share professional information. LinkedIn is the site that many professionals think of when they are looking for another job. People post links to jobs, information about their companies and things they are looking for. If you stay diligent and become friends with people in your industry, there is no way that LinkedIn would not benefit you.

It also presents an ethical conundrum. What if an HR manager stumbles upon your Facebook page with pictures from a wild party or of your growing baby belly? Would they be more or less inclined to hire you based on what they determine online? According to Microsoft’s study, 84% believe that it is OK to use social media to gather information about a candidate.

Do you know what that means? It means you have to stay up on what you have posted online and watch anything that could prevent you from finding that job. Make sure that you pick the right social media site and use it properly. In the right hands social media can be a very powerful thing, but it can also prevent you from gaining what you want.

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Read on for more great Career Collective articles:

Make Your Career More Social: Show Up and Engage, @WalterAkana, #careercollective

You 2.0: The Brave New World of Social Media and Online Job Searches, @dawnrasmussen #careercollective

How to Get a New Job Using Social Media, @DebraWheatman #careercollective

Social Media: Choosing, Using, and Confusing, @ErinKennedyCPRW #careercollective

How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman #careercollective

Updating: A Social Media Strategy For Job Search, @TimsStrategy #careercollective

Your Career Needs Social Media – Get Started, @EliteResumes @MartinBuckland #careercollective

We Get By With a Little Recs from Our Friends, @chandlee #careercollective

Expat Careers & Social Media: Social Media is Potentially 6 Times more Influential than a CV or Resume, @expatcoachmegan #careercollective

Social-Media Tools and Resources to Maximize Your Personalized Job Search, @KatCareerGal #careercollective

Job Search and Social Media: A Collective Approach, @careersherpa #careercollective

How Having Your Own Website Helps You, @keppie_careers #careercollective

Social Media: So what’s the point?, @DawnBugni #CareerCollective

Tools that change your world, @WorkWithIllness #CareerCollective

HOW TO: Meet People IRL via LinkedIn, @AvidCareerist #CareerCollective

Effective Web 2.0 Job Search: Top 5 Secrets, @resumeservice #CareerCollective

Jumping Into the Social Media Sea @ValueIntoWords #CareerCollective

Sink or Swim in Social Media, @KCCareerCoach #CareerCollective

Social Media Primer for Job Seekers, @LaurieBerenson #CareerCollective

               WHAT IS A THOUGHT LEADER (and is it YOU?)           

 

Talk to an executive resume writer about your sales resume.

 

What is a Thought Leader? Lately I’ve had clients discussing this topic with me and wondering what my take was on the term. So, I decided to do some research on the subject and see what others had to say about it.

 

According to Wikipedia, Thought Leaders are used to describe a “futurist or person who is recognized among peers and mentors for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights (thinklets)”.

 

I have dozens of clients who are thought leaders—organic thinkers, consistently offering ideas that propel businesses forward—and have crafted résumés to position them as such. Thought leadership isn’t anything new—it’s been around for years and years, but the term has grown in popularity the past 5 years or so.

 

I remember back in the 70’s and 80’s when my Dad worked in sales for IBM, he had a block sign that was at his desk at work—which he later brought home and sat on his dresser—that simply said, “THINK”. It intrigued the heck out of me and I would ask him, “Think about WHAT?” As I later came to understand it, it was IBM’s slogan for (among other things) developing the top technical and sales teams in the industry by thinking ‘outside the box’—being unique “expert” leaders of their product or service.

 

Just as it was back then, thought leaders of today are being recruited to work within huge organizations to promulgate an idea and teach this learning to others. It’s going beyond ‘business as usual’ and setting yourself apart as an innovative leader and establishing your organization as a trusted advisor and knowledge resource.

 

The best part, according to Galen DeYoung’s article, “B2B Blogging: Using Thought Leadership to Drive Positioning & Sales”, is thought leaders are sought after and paid more. They are “perceived experts that companies want to hire. In going with an expert, the perceived risk is lower”.

 

I also like what Execunet’s founder, Dave Opton had to say about it in his “Keys to Influence” post of why leaders of any enterprise continually succeed (it’s the attitude… and people trust the confidence)…“I can’t prove it, but this is what I believe…”  

 

I have had clients ask me if I would consider them a “thought leader” due to their contributions and if it is worthwhile to brand themselves as such. Do your career accomplishments include a history of pioneering new products or processes, or promoting or discussing ideas relevant to departments and/or companies? Are you singled out for your innovation and expertise in a certain subject? Have you been told you “think outside the box” or you are a “change agent”? If you answered “Yes” to any of those, then you have your answer. Brand yourself on your résumé and look for new opportunities within that realm. Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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