Increasingly, employers are tapping social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to connect with prospective candidates to explore their interest in job openings with their firm.
Whether you are communicating with a recruiter via email, text, social media, instant message or any other way, it's important to keep it professional. Your communications, regardless of how informal they may seem, at least at first, reflect on you as a potential employee, as well as a job applicant. What you say and how you say it does make a different to your prospective employer. Even a tweet or a sloppy Facebook or LinkedIn message may be used to judge your qualifications - or lack thereof.
Here are some tips for keeping it professional when you're communicating with a recruiter via informal channels.
Tips for Communicating with Recruiters
Keep LinkedIn Up-to-Date. Make sure that your LinkedIn Profile is updated, complete and built to impress employers. This means incorporating recommendations from supervisors, colleagues, clients, vendors, etc. The position descriptions in your profile should emphasize accomplishments and value added, rather than just listing what you did. Be sure that you use your personal email address (you can select it as primary) when talking to anyone from another company about jobs.
Watch Your Facebook Page. Be careful about the image you present on your Facebook page and make sure that you have set privacy parameters to protect any content that you wouldn't want employers to see. Recognize that some recruiters may use less than ethical means to view even seemingly protected parts of your Facebook page.
Manage Your Tweets. In addition to being careful how you phrase Direct Messages when you're talking to a recruiter, be careful what you tweet and retweet. Your retweets will show up on your Twitter page and if an employer is checking it out, you will want them to see workplace appropriate content.
Keep it Formal. Employers often provide employee referral bonuses for their employees to source candidates for hard-to-fill positions like IT. Facebook friends might reach out to you to assess your interest in working for their firm. Resist the temptation to be too informal with your friends and carefully construct your responses to messages because they might be forwarded verbatim to recruiters.
Check Privacy Policies. Investigate the privacy policies of recruitment firms prior to responding to any inquiries if you are concerned that your current employer would react negatively if they became aware that you are in job search mode. Sometimes you are better off phoning a recruiter to explore this issue before you formalize any interest in writing.
Keep it Professional. Even though social media communications are often informal, be sure to maintain a professional tone when conducting exchanges with recruiters. Avoid using abbreviations, acronyms and truncated instant message language.
Keep it Short. LinkedIn messages can be brief since your Profile provides a more complete picture of your background. If an employer has shared a specific vacancy which appeals to you, focus on why it would be of interest and briefly summarize how you might add value. Most recruiters on LinkedIn will give you an email address or a link to their applicant tracking system so you can forward or upload a resume and letter if you decide to formally apply for a job.
Proof Your Messages. Carefully review any social media communications for spelling and grammar errors before you send, post or tweet.