Q: I prefer to avoid social media. I feel it does more harm than good. The problem is that I have not looked for a job in over 20 years and I think I should start looking. I feel like I may be at a disadvantage without social media. I don’t want to hear about people’s personal business and I don’t want to share mine. What are my options?
A: You raise valid concerns about social media. Much of job hunting now does rely, at least in part, on the internet and/or social media. You can use job hunting websites within using social media. Most companies list open positions on their website now.
Social media is a source of job leads. LinkedIn, in particular, has become a powerful job hunting tool. LinkedIn is considered a professional networking site, where little personal information is shared. On occasion you may stumble across a piece of personal information but it is primarily a tool for establishing professional connections. Your LinkedIn profile is created by you. So you can include as much or as little personal information on the site as you wish. Some include a photo of dog or a photo against a Patriots banner, but most do not. Twitter is also a helpful job hunting tool. I have found Twitter to be a mixed bag; some use it for personal use while others use it strictly for business. Facebook, I think, for the most part is use for personal use though some companies have Facebook pages.
If you want to focus solely on professional connections, I would consider LinkedIn. You can also join groups related to your career interests. As an example, if you are a registered nurse looking at new opportunities, you can join several groups related to healthcare, nursing, clinical, pharmaceutical, biotech or medical devices. You can also join groups related to your geography (e.g., south shore, Boston, Worcester area, etc.)
Ask others which social media tools they use for job hunting. Your colleagues will likely share sound advice.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section. Click here to read about more employment topics in The Job Doc Blog at Boston.com.