Q. I have a real dislike of social media—I’m not on Facebook or Instagram or any of those sites because I like my privacy. I do not have a personal website or an online portfolio, and I have no idea what I would put on one anyway. Does this mean that companies will avoid hiring me? Do I have to be online for my job search?
A. Social media is one of the ways that modern companies find and vet job candidates—but it is not the only way. If you are willing to network in person, if you have ties to professional groups or individuals who can help your search, and if you are not applying for a position that requires social media smarts, then your absence from social media may not hurt you and you may not have to be online for your job search.
Although various surveys show that over two-thirds of companies now look to social media to find and screen future employees, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management contends that 36% of companies also use social media to disqualify candidates. You have to use social media wisely in your job search. The fact that you have a strong urge for privacy works in your favor—you are far less likely to be one of those who are disqualified because of their social media presence.
Also, keep in mind that companies today expect most interviewees to be computer savvy, and your absence from social media makes them doubt whether you have any computer skills. Moreover, it makes them a little suspicious: what are you hiding, and exactly how bare is your history?
However, for an effective job search in most careers, you likely will need to post on a professional site such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to post your work history without spilling your personal history or dealing with unsolicited comments on your personal affairs. Subject matter experts and resume organizations speculate that within the next couple of years, LinkedIn profiles will replace resumes.
Equally important, you can use LinkedIn to find out more information about the company where you are applying, including the names of potential interviewers. When you research companies online, you are better prepared to write a resume that interests the company and to give a strong interview.
Remember, you are not obliged to share anything on online that you do not want to share, and most sites let you control access by other people.
You do not have to be online, but it will help your job search. If you decide to go online and build a professional presence, make sure that your online profile and your resume back each other up. Your online profile is a good place to give details that do not fit on a resume and to expand on your skills, accomplishments, and experience. For help in creating a great resume and a great online profile, please contact Robin’s Resumes®.