Mark Jenkins, the CFO of Petersen Inc., said Wednesday that social networking sites can be an important factor when considering a prospective employee.
“Everything is going electronic,” Jenkins says. “If I were a young college graduate looking for a job, I would definitely have my linked-in profile up to date and current.”
Jenkins was a presenter at the Resume Building and Networking Seminar at Weber State University. The seminar was held to help attendees create a competitive resume.
Ryan Combe, director of marketing and membership for the WSU Alumni Association and a presenter at the seminar, agreed with Jenkins.
“Linked-in is changing how people get jobs,” Combe says. “Access to that type of information is a lot easier to find now, so whether you’re looking for a job or you’re researching someone who is applying for a job, that information is right there, whereas 10 years ago, it wasn’t.”
Social networking and presenting oneself to an employer online were the major topics discussed at the seminar. Presenters warned that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will be checked, and what is on those sites is often a determining factor in regards to whom is hired. It is important that applicants are mindful about what is publicly posted on these sites.
“We will check blogs,” Jenkins said. “If you give an HR manager a link to a blog or a Facebook page, be prepared to have them scrutinized because we will look at them, so clean those up.”
A general consensus among the presenters was avoiding immature email addresses. Having an email address along the lines of “hotbody91” is unacceptable. Employers also take notice to the answer tones on phones — inappropriate music as an answer tone can be a red flag.
Both Combe and Jenkins also stressed that, oftentimes, it is not what people know, but who they know. Networking for a job is a must.
“I really hit networking hard,” Jenkins says. “Get your name out there. Get your resume out there. Rather than just placing resumes, place resumes with people who have contacts that you know who knows somebody to get. The key is to get that resume in the right hands.”
Also important is tailoring a resume for a specific job. Many of the presenters warned against using a generic resume. Using keywords from the mission statement and repeating words used in the job listing in a cover letter tells the employers that an applicant is genuinely interested in the job and is paying attention to what the employers asked for.
The seminar included five speakers with various experience in the hiring and networking fields. The presenters offered advice on resume-building, social networking and mistakes to avoid when applying for a job. Social networking was emphasized throughout the seminar. Sites such as Linked-In and indeed.com were mentioned repeatedly as tools that should be utilized for those on a job search.
The seminar was sponsored by the WSU Young Alumni Council, a sub-organization of the WSU Alumni Association, which centers around WSU graduates of the last 10 years. The council hosts events such as a 5k run during Homecoming and service projects that help graduates maintain ties with the university. The council gives members an opportunity to be back on campus after they graduate, allowing them to continue their college experience in the decade after graduation.
Paul Bachman, president of the Young Alumni Council, hopes events like the Resume Building and Networking seminar will help recent graduates network and build their career.
“We’re trying to focus on those that have just graduated and are getting into their careers,” Bachman says. “That’s why we have an event like this where a lot of our members are either going to be starting their careers or looking to shift into other companies or moving up in their companies. We thought a resume building seminar would be great for them.”