Social vs. Professional Networking Sites

By EJ Fechenda
01:23 PM

There has been significant debate over how much information an employer should be privy to when researching a candidate. Should they do an Internet search and glimpse at your Facebook profile? Is this legal or even ethical? When it comes down to it, potential employers don’t care about what you had for dinner the night before or how a movie made you “LOL.” Social networking sites are still taboo…for now. You might want to check those privacy settings though, just in case.

Employers are interested in references, experience and work history. Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, provide all of this. Not only does your profile serve as an extension of your resume, but there is a good chance you and your potential boss have a shared connection (plus, your profile doesn’t have any embarrassing pictures from high school).

More than once, I have connected with someone on LinkedIn only to discover they know someone I used to work with, know professionally or went to school with. This is always a pleasant surprise and provides an additional reason to reach out to this person. The world is indeed a small one and networking sites have an uncanny way of making it even smaller. There is validity in the common phrase, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” If you know the same people or travel in similar circles, this is going to work in your favor, but you still need to have the skill set and know what you’re doing.

If you plan on including your LinkedIn URL on your resume, make sure your profile is current and robust. Check for any content which may be deemed unprofessional and remove it. Ask connections to recommend you so there are additional references on your page beyond what you have already provided. Make sure any professional groups you’re a member of are visible on your page. This reflects you have a vested interest in staying current on specific topics which are relevant to your career. Also, these groups are a great way to network with professionals in your field. Most importantly, make sure your education and work history matches what you have on your resume.

E.J. Fechenda is the Audience Data Manager for MedTech Media. Since 2008 she has helped manage Healthcare Finance JobSpot and Healthcare IT JobSpot - now merged with HIMSS JobMine. She is not a Human Resources professional, nor a healthcare expert, but over the years she’s accumulated a lot of feedback and insight from both job seekers and employers alike. Each week E.J. will deliver a blog based on this information. One week will be employer focused and the next week, job seeker focused.