Social media, social shmedia…..it’s everywhere. And it’s a tremendous tool for job seekers and for hiring managers but as with any new tool, there are safety rules that need to be followed to prevent a career ending injury.
It’s okay to find someone on linkedin and to invite them to connect with you but give them a reason. Don’t just send the canned invitation. Personalize it with a note about why you want to connect. Remember that popular people are inundated with invitations and may be selective. Also remember that some people do not check linkedin often, so there may be quite a delay.
It’s okay to argue about bedtime with your sixteen year old on facebook chat. (This is actually surprisingly effective) It is definitely not okay to “friend” the hiring manager you just met so you can check out their weekend plans.
Use the level of formality as your guide. A new relationship should start out pretty formally – like a first date. An email and maybe a hand written note after the first conversation or meeting. Once relations are established, then voice and emails are effective. When the relationship has moved into the very familiar, (think: going steady) then the texting and facebooking can begin.
Also, be mindful of the organization’s culture when you are deciding what kind of communication will get you to the next level. Most engineering firms will squint and crinkle their noses if you try to connect by pinging them through facebook but at Zappos, the hugely successful online shoe retailer, it’s absolutely the best way to connect. If fact, their employees are encouraged to interact with customers and potential employees via facebook and twitter. Different audience, different culture, different rules.