Social Media Screening: Here’s How to Use it in Your Hiring Decisions

Social Media Screening: Here’s How to Use it in Your Hiring Decisions

by   on Dec 5, 2012, 8:10 AM  | TLNT
Social-Media-Background-Screening

You’ve probably had friends whom you wished would stop using Facebook or Twitter for just five minutes.

After all, who needs to see 12 new pictures of someone’s dog every hour, or hear about how so and so’s love life is still on the rocks? A hiring and staffing manager who’s trying to make hiring decisions, that’s who.

People use social networks to share snippets of their personal lives with friends and family, but hiring and staffing departments also view the material. According to CareerBuilder, 37 percent of companies use social networks to research job candidates, and 12 percent of businesses use the websites to look for reasons not to hire someone.

It’s all about making the right distinctions

Would the woman who wears a skimpy outfit on Facebook dress in a way that’s too risqué on Casual Friday? Does the guy who criticizes his boss on Twitter have a legitimate beef, or is he the office troublemaker?

Some companies don’t care to know – a little slice of raw humanity from someone’s social media life is all it takes to make them toss out a resume faster than The New Yorker rejects a poetry submission.

But that’s not how it should go.

When hiring and staffing departments use social media screening as a tool for employee selection, they should have strategies for distinguishing between candidates who occasionally post questionable content and applicants who could pose a real problem in the workplace.

Tips for using social media screening right

Here are some tips for making the distinction:

  • Consider comment responses. When someone tweets a message like “Everyone can jump off a cliff and die,” he usually gets one of two responses: people seem concerned and ask him what’s wrong, or they act like he’s being himself and tweet a response like “chill, dude.” If you’d rather not hire a verbal hit man, avoid people whose friends indicate that they’re acting normal when they blow up – but give the person who occasionally speaks his or her mind a break.
  • Count photos. A candidate seems perfect, but then you delve into his Facebook photos and see him drinking liquor. Yes, it’s the hard stuff, but ask yourself this: is it just a photo of the man holding a glass of scotch at a cigar bar, or does it look like he tipples at every dive in the city? If it’s just a single photo, be careful not to overreact.
  • Be fair about social associations. Say that one of your applicants likes Motley Crüe’s Facebook page. Does that mean that he likes to “Shout at the Devil” and thinks of women as “Girls, Girls, Girls?” Likely not. He’s probably just a fan of ’80s glam rock. If he likes skinhead punk bands, on the other hand, there’s a good chance that more than musical taste is at play. When you evaluate someone’s social associations, try to be skeptical without being morally judgmental.

Social media sites are useful screening tools for the employee selection process, but hiring and staffing managers should be careful how they use social content to make hiring decisions.

While some types of content can indicate that an applicant would be a bad hire, other kinds are just evidence of the free-spirited behavior that hardworking people have always engaged in. Those things shouldn’t stop anyone from getting a job.

How does your company use social networks to make social hiring decisions?

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

Don Charlton is a Web entrepreneur, developer and speaker. His company, TheResumator.com,, helps employers hire with confidence. Contact him at don@theresumator.com.

The Can’t-Miss Social Media Trends for 2013 — ARE YOU ALIGNED?

I wonder if all our companies are aligned with these 2013 trends…..

The Can’t-Miss Social Media Trends For 2013

BY RYAN HOLMES

FAST COMPANY 

NOVEMBER 29, 2012

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, crystal balls the future of social so you’re not stuck with–gasp–Twitter 101-level skills.

Will Facebook continue its reign atop the social hierarchy? Will businesses get better returns on their social media investment? Will your CEO finally learn to tweet? Here’s a look at the biggest social media trends set to unfold in the year ahead.

Mobile social media usage continues to soar: In September, Facebook made a monumental–if little noted–revelation in a quarterly SEC filing: “[We] anticipate that the rate of growth in mobile usage will exceed the growth in usage through personal computers for the foreseeable future.” Mobile Internet users are set to overtake wired Internet users by 2015 in the U.S., but this shift is happening far faster on social platforms.

What does this mean for the future of social media? Networks that make engagement on the go easy–especially visual platforms like Instagram–are at a significant advantage (Instagram, in fact, already has more mobile users than Twitter). Meanwhile, traditional networks must work to better differentiate their desktop and mobile experiences–ensuring that mobile interfaces are streamlined and fast-loading, while also taking full advantage of GPS, near field communication (exchanging information by touching smartphones) and perhaps evenambient location functionality.

At the same time, developing viable advertising options for mobile platforms is more critical than ever. Finding ways to squeeze ads onto tiny mobile screens has thus far proved a serious Achilles heel.

Social advertising grows and evolves: To solve the mobile revenue puzzle, social networks will push ahead next year with new social ad models. Traditional banner and interruption ads will decline, replaced by innovative offerings like Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Stories. What makes these so-called native ads unique is that they don’t look like ads at all, apart from small disclaimers. They appear in-stream and read exactly like another piece of user-generated content.

While some users resent this intrusion into their home streams, natives ads potentially enable brands to reach clients on their own turf and on their own terms. Behind it all is the concept of convergence–the idea that ads and content can be interchangeable. Companies, for instance, are already sending out Tweets to followers on their social media channels. Using analytical tools to identify which are most read, they can selectively amplify the best of the bunch as Promoted Tweets, turning content into ads and reaching an even larger audience.

International and niche social networks experience dramatic growth: Total social media users are forecast to grow by just 4.1 percent in North America in 2013. Compare that with growth rates of 21.1 percent in Asia-Pacific (including China, India, and Indonesia), 12.6 percent in Latin America, and 23.3 percent in the Middle East and Africa.

The major networks will continue to make impressive inroads internationally: Facebook users grew by 47 percent in Latin America alone last year. But localized social networks–especially those geared for mobile users–are also experiencing dramatic growth. China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging platform recently surpassed 400 million users (nearly doubling its user base in one year), while two-year-old competing upstart WeChat already has 200 million users.

Meanwhile, niche networks, which offer deeper, more focused functionalities overlooked by the bigger players, will continue to experience truly explosive growth both in North America and internationally. Riding the wave of its acquisition by Facebook, Instagram saw its share of social media traffic grow by 17,319 percent this year, while Pinterest grew by 5,124 percent.

What does this all mean for brands and businesses? To maximize reach, it’s critical to keep up with an expanding array of social networks both in North America and abroad. Anticipate increased demand in 2013 for social media management systems that streamline monitoring and posting across multiple networks.

Social media moves beyond the marketing department: In the year ahead, expect enterprises to embrace social media tools–including internal networks, real-time chats and wikis–for uses that go way beyond the familiar applications for marketing and community building. At stake is a potentially enormous boost to the bottom line: Last year, McKinsey published an eye-opening report that pegged the untapped business value of social technologies at $1.3 trillion–and most of that comes from improved office productivity.

We’re already seeing HR departments applying social media to streamline application processes, sales teams cultivating leads and monitoring the sales funnel via social channels, and operations and distributions teams tracking supply chains at a granular level. Deeper still, internal networking tools like HootSuite Conversations are enabling companies to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. (Conversations is sold by my company.)

At the same time, the way social media is rolled out at large companies is fundamentally changing. Until now, adoption has been fueled from the bottom-up, by front-line social media and community managers. But increasingly CIOs, CEOs, and CMOs who have seen the business value of social media are taking the reins. As the C-suite formalizes top-down social media strategy, expect to see social media management systems become as commonplace as office productivity suites and customer relations management software.

Big data grows but gets more manageable: Social media has given companies access to unprecedented volumes of information about their clients and buying trends on an aggregate level. The challenge, which confronts everyone from data giants like Facebook to small businesses active on social media, is how to process all of this and turn it into actionable policy. Case in point: 93 percent of North American executives surveyed by Oracle believe they’re losing revenue by not leveraging available data.

“We need to build robust systems for analyzing the huge amounts of data flowing in from social media and how they then link to all the other touch points consumers have with the brand,” explains digital analyst Marita Scarfi.

The coming year will see the emergence of new software and tools to do just that. Using new-wave social media command centers capable of tracking multiple social stats in real-time, from tweets and Likes to customer sentiment, companies will be able to radically improve customer service and predict future buying patterns, not to mention streamline internal communication and increase productivity. This kind of social data is already being harnessed by Nestle to boost customer sentiment, GE to speed up repairs to the electrical grid, and Wall Street to forecast stock prices.

Social media education gets formalized: A recent Harvard Business review survey showed that only 12 percent of companies using social media feel they use it effectively. Given the expanded business applications of social media, maximizing impact increasingly requires specialized training. Just knowing how to send a Tweet or friend someone on Facebook is not enough. In 2013, expect to see more social media coursework at universities, as well as dedicated social media MBA programs, as schools rise to the challenge (Syracuse, NYU, Columbia, Harvard Business School, and dozens of other higher ed institutions are already leading the pack here).

At the same time, companies will begin to double down on social media education for their existing employees as the entire workforce gains an added level of social sophistication, similar to the Internet 1.0 skillset that was on-boarded a decade ago. Social media skills will join email as part of basic business literacy in the digital age. Perhaps most critical of all will be social media compliance training to ensure that workers in sensitive industries from finance to healthcare uphold regulatory standards while taking advantage of social media’s benefits.

This year has been widely regarded as the year social media made the jump from dorm room to boardroom. In 2013, expect to see companies who have taken the plunge begin to reap expanded returns from their social investments, with help from improved social technologies, innovative ad models, and an expanded user base around the globe.

Learn more about the future of social media by subscribing to the Fast Company newsletter.

–Ryan Holmes is CEO of Hootsuite.

[Image: Flickr user Len Burgess]

 

PROMOTE YOURSELF

Promote yourself!

02SundayDec 2012

Although individual users were the first to use social media, only companies have given a strategic role to these new tools, integrating them into their marketing plan. However, not being the director of a company doesn’t mean that we cannot promote ourselves. These are the four principles that will help you achieve this:

Myself Inc

1. You are your own business

Actually, you are the director of the company Myself, Inc. As a company, you have designed a business model. You have specific professional and personal interests and you are aware of your abilities. You know how you differ from other people, what products or services you offer and what problems you help to solve.

Obviously, you need a strategic plan. You have a personal and professional goal in the medium/long term that points the next phases to follow and the resources you will need in this journey.

2. The company you work for is your client

If you are your own company, the company you work for is, therefore, your client. The time when people joined a company at age 20 and left it at age of 65 is over. The company is not a second home, but a client we offer our services to help them grow up.

This approach is useful to always maintain a professional relationship with our company. Some workers tend to think that, by the fact that they have worked for a company for 10 years, they can take certain liberties and neglect professionalism. This is a mistake.

Obviously, this relationship with the company demands a higher level of self-demand, but at the same time, it also offers a higher degree of autonomy because we know that our job security doesn’t come from the company but from ourselves.

3. Invest in yourself

Like any business, you have your own program of Innovation and Continuing Training. With an open mind, you are always willing to improve, learn and explore new fields.

Your training program is not limited to the training offered by the company you work for. Your goals go far beyond because they are related with your own business model and your strategic expansion plan.

Try to be aware of new trends, identify what knowledge and skills could make you more competitive. Attend seminars, conferences, trade shows. Identify the leading experts and learn from them. Search your competitors and analyze their offer.

4. Create your own brand

Obviously, you also have your own marketing strategy. Use all the knowledge and know-how accumulated over the years in your daily work and other activities to make yourself known and to create a reputation.

Design a blog and offer your knowledge, take care of your LinkedIn profile and try to join groups related to your professional interests, engage with your community, advice other professionals.

***

Some companies may feel threatened by those employees who adopt this strategy of self-promotion. They may prefer traditional employees, who are nothing more than pawns. However, this perspective, besides being wrong, is negative for the own company.

Employees who promote themselves, who are a referent, are not only getting notoriety for themselves, but they are also helping to promote the company they work for, because a company with great employees is perceived as a great company.

7 Tips For Building a ‘Power Network’ on LinkedIn | Entrepreneur.com

7 Tips For Building a ‘Power Network’ on LinkedIn

Among the social networks, LinkedIn can be one of the most useful when it comes to cultivating critical, lucrative business opportunities, since it has a high concentration of business decision makers. The trick is going beyond connecting with cousins and college buddies to strategically building a “power network” of individuals who should be potential clients.

But building a power network on LinkedIn doesn’t happen overnight. Here are seven tips for making the kinds of connections that can benefit your business the most:

1. Optimize your profile: One of the easiest ways is to update your profile picture. LinkedIn views this kind of update as “freshness” and it can help your ranking when others are searching for someone like you.

2. Tell people who you are, who you help and how you help them in your headline: A headline that communicates these points is often what grabs a person’s attention when searching the site. I should be able to read your headline and know exactly what you offer and why I should get in touch with you. Be clear and compelling.

Related: 5 Underutilized LinkedIn Marketing Tools

3. Fill out all current and past work experiences: You never know who’s looking for you, possibly a co-worker from an old job, or maybe a classmate that’s suddenly feeling nostalgic and wants to see who they can find online. By listing all of your places of employment — including your educational institutions — you can create a larger net for capturing searches. Plus, these connections could be second- or third-tier connections to people you’ve been trying to meet.

4. Join targeted groups: This can be one of the most effective ways to connect with like-minded professionals who are serious about using LinkedIn to form deeper business connections. Participating in these groups also enables you to share your knowledge and to learn from other members.

5. Create a targeted group: Not only can leading a group give you a certain level of credibility, it allows you to connect with people who are influential within your specific industry.

6. Send personal invites: These, in my opinion, always trump generic requests to connect. The invite is your first communication on LinkedIn, so make a good first impression by writing a personal request and asking how you can help the person, or whom you can introduce them to.

Related: 3 Tips for Using LinkedIn’s New ‘Endorsements’

7. Get endorsements and recommendations: This can help enhance your profile, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. Don’t send a mass or generic e-mail to clients or colleagues asking if they can endorse your skills or write a recommendation. First, identify people who have a great story to share about you and your skills. Contact those people directly, via phone or e-mail, and let them know you’re personally reaching out to them because of (insert how you’ve helped them here) and would appreciate it if they’d be willing to write a quick recommendation for you, based on that story.

The same goes for endorsements, which are much easier to give since it’s just a click of a button. It also helps if you mention you’ll be endorsing their strongest skills as well.

In what ways do you grow your network on LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more stories about: Growth strategies, Networking, Linkedin, Finding customers

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The Brand Called You | Fast Company

Aside

The Brand Called You

It’s a new brand world.

That cross-trainer you’re wearing — one look at the distinctive swoosh on the side tells everyone who’s got you branded. That coffee travel mug you’re carrying — ah, you’re a Starbucks woman! Your T-shirt with the distinctive Champion “C” on the sleeve, the blue jeans with the prominent Levi’s rivets, the watch with the hey-this-certifies-I-made-it icon on the face, your fountain pen with the maker’s symbol crafted into the end …

You’re branded, branded, branded, branded.

It’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.

Behemoth companies may take turns buying each other or acquiring every hot startup that catches their eye — mergers in 1996 set records. Hollywood may be interested in only blockbusters and book publishers may want to put out only guaranteed best-sellers. But don’t be fooled by all the frenzy at the humongous end of the size spectrum.

The real action is at the other end: the main chance is becoming a free agent in an economy of free agents, looking to have the best season you can imagine in your field, looking to do your best work and chalk up a remarkable track record, and looking to establish your own micro equivalent of the Nike swoosh. Because if you do, you’ll not only reach out toward every opportunity within arm’s (or laptop’s) length, you’ll not only make a noteworthy contribution to your team’s success — you’ll also put yourself in a great bargaining position for next season’s free-agency market.

The good news — and it is largely good news — is that everyone has a chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.

Who understands this fundamental principle? The big companies do. They’ve come a long way in a short time: it was just over four years ago, April 2, 1993 to be precise, when Philip Morris cut the price of Marlboro cigarettes by 40 cents a pack. That was on a Friday. On Monday, the stock market value of packaged goods companies fell by $25 billion. Everybody agreed: brands were doomed.

Today brands are everything, and all kinds of products and services — from accounting firms to sneaker makers to restaurants — are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by a Tommy Hilfiger-like buzz.

Who else understands it? Every single Web site sponsor. In fact, the Web makes the case for branding more directly than any packaged good or consumer product ever could. Here’s what the Web says: Anyone can have a Web site. And today, because anyone can … anyone does! So how do you know which sites are worth visiting, which sites to bookmark, which sites are worth going to more than once? The answer: branding. The sites you go back to are the sites you trust. They’re the sites where the brand name tells you that the visit will be worth your time — again and again. The brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive.

The same holds true for that other killer app of the Net — email. When everybody has email and anybody can send you email, how do you decide whose messages you’re going to read and respond to first — and whose you’re going to send to the trash unread? The answer: personal branding. The name of the email sender is every bit as important a brand — is a brand — as the name of the Web site you visit. It’s a promise of the value you’ll receive for the time you spend reading the message.

Nobody understands branding better than professional services firms. Look at McKinsey or Arthur Andersen for a model of the new rules of branding at the company and personal level. Almost every professional services firm works with the same business model. They have almost no hard assets — my guess is that most probably go so far as to rent or lease every tangible item they possibly can to keep from having to own anything. They have lots of soft assets — more conventionally known as people, preferably smart, motivated, talented people. And they have huge revenues — and astounding profits.

They also have a very clear culture of work and life. You’re hired, you report to work, you join a team — and you immediately start figuring out how to deliver value to the customer. Along the way, you learn stuff, develop your skills, hone your abilities, move from project to project. And if you’re really smart, you figure out how to distinguish yourself from all the other very smart people walking around with $1,500 suits, high-powered laptops, and well-polished resumes. Along the way, if you’re really smart, you figure out what it takes to create a distinctive role for yourself — you create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.

What makes You different?

Start right now: as of this moment you’re going to think of yourself differently! You’re not an “employee” of General Motors, you’re not a “staffer” at General Mills, you’re not a “worker” at General Electric or a “human resource” at General Dynamics (ooops, it’s gone!). Forget the Generals! You don’t “belong to” any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn’t to any particular “function.” You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description.

Starting today you are a brand.

You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.

If your answer wouldn’t light up the eyes of a prospective client or command a vote of confidence from a satisfied past client, or — worst of all — if it doesn’t grab you, then you’ve got a big problem. It’s time to give some serious thought and even more serious effort to imagining and developing yourself as a brand.

Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors — or your colleagues. What have you done lately — this week — to make yourself stand out? What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy (as in, worthy of note) personal trait?

Go back to the comparison between brand You and brand X — the approach the corporate biggies take to creating a brand. The standard model they use is feature-benefit: every feature they offer in their product or service yields an identifiable and distinguishable benefit for their customer or client. A dominant feature of Nordstrom department stores is the personalized service it lavishes on each and every customer. The customer benefit: a feeling of being accorded individualized attention — along with all of the choice of a large department store.

So what is the “feature-benefit model” that the brand called You offers? Do you deliver your work on time, every time? Your internal or external customer gets dependable, reliable service that meets its strategic needs. Do you anticipate and solve problems before they become crises? Your client saves money and headaches just by having you on the team. Do you always complete your projects within the allotted budget? I can’t name a single client of a professional services firm who doesn’t go ballistic at cost overruns.

Your next step is to cast aside all the usual descriptors that employees and workers depend on to locate themselves in the company structure. Forget your job title. Ask yourself: What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? Forget your job description. Ask yourself: What do I do that I am most proud of? Most of all, forget about the standard rungs of progression you’ve climbed in your career up to now. Burn that damnable “ladder” and ask yourself: What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about? If you’re going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you’re proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.

When you’ve done that, sit down and ask yourself one more question to define your brand: What do I want to be famous for? That’s right — famous for!

What’s the pitch for You?

So it’s a cliché: don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle. it’s also a principle that every corporate brand understands implicitly, from Omaha Steaks’s through-the-mail sales program to Wendy’s “we’re just regular folks” ad campaign. No matter how beefy your set of skills, no matter how tasty you’ve made that feature-benefit proposition, you still have to market the bejesus out of your brand — to customers, colleagues, and your virtual network of associates.

For most branding campaigns, the first step is visibility. If you’re General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler, that usually means a full flight of TV and print ads designed to get billions of “impressions” of your brand in front of the consuming public. If you’re brand You, you’ve got the same need for visibility — but no budget to buy it.

So how do you market brand You?

There’s literally no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your profile. Try moonlighting! Sign up for an extra project inside your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills — or work on new ones. Or, if you can carve out the time, take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people. If you can get them singing your praises, they’ll help spread the word about what a remarkable contributor you are.

If those ideas don’t appeal, try teaching a class at a community college, in an adult education program, or in your own company. You get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you with more requests and more opportunities to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re a better writer than you are a teacher, try contributing a column or an opinion piece to your local newspaper. And when I say local, I mean local. You don’t have to make the op-ed page of the New York Times to make the grade. Community newspapers, professional newsletters, even inhouse company publications have white space they need to fill. Once you get started, you’ve got a track record — and clips that you can use to snatch more chances.

And if you’re a better talker than you are teacher or writer, try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop. Visibility has a funny way of multiplying; the hardest part is getting started. But a couple of good panel presentations can earn you a chance to give a “little” solo speech — and from there it’s just a few jumps to a major address at your industry’s annual convention.

The second important thing to remember about your personal visibility campaign is: it all matters. When you’re promoting brand You, everything you do — and everything you choose not to do — communicates the value and character of the brand. Everything from the way you handle phone conversations to the email messages you send to the way you conduct business in a meeting is part of the larger message you’re sending about your brand.

Partly it’s a matter of substance: what you have to say and how well you get it said. But it’s also a matter of style. On the Net, do your communications demonstrate a command of the technology? In meetings, do you keep your contributions short and to the point? It even gets down to the level of your brand You business card: Have you designed a cool-looking logo for your own card? Are you demonstrating an appreciation for design that shows you understand that packaging counts — a lot — in a crowded world?

The key to any personal branding campaign is “word-of-mouth marketing.” Your network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers is the most important marketing vehicle you’ve got; what they say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand. So the big trick to building your brand is to find ways to nurture your network of colleagues — consciously.

What’s the real power of You?

If you want to grow your brand, you’ve got to come to terms with power — your own. The key lesson: power is not a dirty word!

In fact, power for the most part is a badly misunderstood term and a badly misused capability. I’m talking about a different kind of power than we usually refer to. It’s not ladder power, as in who’s best at climbing over the adjacent bods. It’s not who’s-got-the-biggest-office-by-six-square-inches power or who’s-got-the-fanciest-title power.

It’s influence power.

It’s being known for making the most significant contribution in your particular area. It’s reputational power. If you were a scholar, you’d measure it by the number of times your publications get cited by other people. If you were a consultant, you’d measure it by the number of CEOs who’ve got your business card in their Rolodexes. (And better yet, the number who know your beeper number by heart.)

Getting and using power — intelligently, responsibly, and yes, powerfully — are essential skills for growing your brand. One of the things that attracts us to certain brands is the power they project. As a consumer, you want to associate with brands whose powerful presence creates a halo effect that rubs off on you.

It’s the same in the workplace. There are power trips that are worth taking — and that you can take without appearing to be a self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing megalomaniacal jerk. You can do it in small, slow, and subtle ways. Is your team having a hard time organizing productive meetings? Volunteer to write the agenda for the next meeting. You’re contributing to the team, and you get to decide what’s on and off the agenda. When it’s time to write a post-project report, does everyone on your team head for the door? Beg for the chance to write the report — because the hand that holds the pen (or taps the keyboard) gets to write or at least shape the organization’s history.

Most important, remember that power is largely a matter of perception. If you want people to see you as a powerful brand, act like a credible leader. When you’re thinking like brand You, you don’t need org-chart authority to be a leader. The fact is you are a leader. You’re leading You!

One key to growing your power is to recognize the simple fact that we now live in a project world. Almost all work today is organized into bite-sized packets called projects. A project-based world is ideal for growing your brand: projects exist around deliverables, they create measurables, and they leave you with braggables. If you’re not spending at least 70% of your time working on projects, creating projects, or organizing your (apparently mundane) tasks into projects, you are sadly living in the past. Today you have to think, breathe, act, and work in projects.

Project World makes it easier for you to assess — and advertise — the strength of brand You. Once again, think like the giants do. Imagine yourself a brand manager at Procter & Gamble: When you look at your brand’s assets, what can you add to boost your power and felt presence? Would you be better off with a simple line extension — taking on a project that adds incrementally to your existing base of skills and accomplishments? Or would you be better off with a whole new product line? Is it time to move overseas for a couple of years, venturing outside your comfort zone (even taking a lateral move — damn the ladders), tackling something new and completely different?

Whatever you decide, you should look at your brand’s power as an exercise in new-look résumé; management — an exercise that you start by doing away once and for all with the word “résumé.” You don’t have an old-fashioned résumé anymore! You’ve got a marketing brochure for brand You. Instead of a static list of titles held and positions occupied, your marketing brochure brings to life the skills you’ve mastered, the projects you’ve delivered, the braggables you can take credit for. And like any good marketing brochure, yours needs constant updating to reflect the growth — breadth and depth — of brand You.

What’s loyalty to You?

Everyone is saying that loyalty is gone; loyalty is dead; loyalty is over. I think that’s a bunch of crap.

I think loyalty is much more important than it ever was in the past. A 40-year career with the same company once may have been called loyalty; from here it looks a lot like a work life with very few options, very few opportunities, and very little individual power. That’s what we used to call indentured servitude.

Today loyalty is the only thing that matters. But it isn’t blind loyalty to the company. It’s loyalty to your colleagues, loyalty to your team, loyalty to your project, loyalty to your customers, and loyalty to yourself. I see it as a much deeper sense of loyalty than mindless loyalty to the Company Z logo.

I know this may sound like selfishness. But being CEO of Me Inc. requires you to act selfishly — to grow yourself, to promote yourself, to get the market to reward yourself. Of course, the other side of the selfish coin is that any company you work for ought to applaud every single one of the efforts you make to develop yourself. After all, everything you do to grow Me Inc. is gravy for them: the projects you lead, the networks you develop, the customers you delight, the braggables you create generate credit for the firm. As long as you’re learning, growing, building relationships, and delivering great results, it’s good for you and it’s great for the company.

That win-win logic holds for as long as you happen to be at that particular company. Which is precisely where the age of free agency comes into play. If you’re treating your résumé as if it’s a marketing brochure, you’ve learned the first lesson of free agency. The second lesson is one that today’s professional athletes have all learned: you’ve got to check with the market on a regular basis to have a reliable read on your brand’s value. You don’t have to be looking for a job to go on a job interview. For that matter, you don’t even have to go on an actual job interview to get useful, important feedback.

The real question is: How is brand You doing? Put together your own “user’s group” — the personal brand You equivalent of a software review group. Ask for — insist on — honest, helpful feedback on your performance, your growth, your value. It’s the only way to know what you would be worth on the open market. It’s the only way to make sure that, when you declare your free agency, you’ll be in a strong bargaining position. It’s not disloyalty to “them”; it’s responsible brand management for brand You — which also generates credit for them.

What’s the future of You?

It’s over. No more vertical. No more ladder. That’s not the way careers work anymore. Linearity is out. A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It’s full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.

As you scope out the path your “career” will take, remember: the last thing you want to do is become a manager. Like “résumé,” “manager” is an obsolete term. It’s practically synonymous with “dead end job.” What you want is a steady diet of more interesting, more challenging, more provocative projects. When you look at the progression of a career constructed out of projects, directionality is not only hard to track — Which way is up? — but it’s also totally irrelevant.

Instead of making yourself a slave to the concept of a career ladder, reinvent yourself on a semiregular basis. Start by writing your own mission statement, to guide you as CEO of Me Inc. What turns you on? Learning something new? Gaining recognition for your skills as a technical wizard? Shepherding new ideas from concept to market? What’s your personal definition of success? Money? Power? Fame? Or doing what you love? However you answer these questions, search relentlessly for job or project opportunities that fit your mission statement. And review that mission statement every six months to make sure you still believe what you wrote.

No matter what you’re doing today, there are four things you’ve got to measure yourself against. First, you’ve got to be a great teammate and a supportive colleague. Second, you’ve got to be an exceptional expert at something that has real value. Third, you’ve got to be a broad-gauged visionary — a leader, a teacher, a farsighted “imagineer.” Fourth, you’ve got to be a businessperson — you’ve got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes.

It’s this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today. Or else.

Tom Peters (TJPET) is the world’s leading brand when it comes to writing, speaking, or thinking about the new economy. He has just released a CD-ROM, “Tom Peters’ Career Survival Guide” (Houghton Mifflin interactive). Rob Walker contributed the brand profile sidebars.

7 Ways to Find a Job Using Social Media

http://socialmediatoday.com/christian-arno/906366/7-ways-find-job-using-social-media?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=linkedin

When it comes to job hunting, most of us know the saying: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In this age of social media, we’re more connected than ever before. More job seekers are using social media to find and research new opportunities – while employers are using it to suss out candidates.

But many people are still making basic mistakes. We’ve all heard of the dangers that an inappropriate Facebook photo, or ill-judged Tweet can do to our careers. Miss Seattle 2012 (a.k.a. Jean-Sun Hannah Ahn) recently learned this lesson the hard way. She almost lost her title after Twitter rants such as “Take me back to az! Ugh can’t stand cold rainy Seattle and the annoying people.”

But other smaller mistakes could be harmful. Not updating a LinkedIn profile, or not separating private and professional social networks can damage your career prospects. And few people use the full power of their social networks.

A survey by Kelly Services Inc. found that only 24 per cent of American job seekers were more likely to use social media than traditional methods, such as newspapers, job boards and recruitment firms. And many people aren’t aware that well-known companies such as Starbucks, Citibank and UPS use Twitter and Facebook to recruit. TweetMyJobs found an impressive 45 percent of companies planned to invest more in social recruiting in 2012.

Here are seven ways to find your next career move, and stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.

Join LinkedIn – and make sure your profile is up to date

There might be dozens of social media sites, but LinkedIn is the most career-focused one. Your profile has room for all the information on your resume, while the summary section is the perfect place to let potential employers know you’re looking for new opportunities. A useful feature is it tells you whether someone is a “first, second or third degree” connection, meaning you can ask one of your existing contacts for an introduction.

There are several ways to make your profile stand out. Ask former employers or colleagues to write a recommendation or endorse your skills. You can even add a video to introduce yourself. Join relevant LinkedIn groups, post news, and contribute to discussions. There are more than 1 million groups, so find the most popular ones for your chosen field.

Set up an alternative Twitter and Facebook

If you’re serious in your job search, it’s best to separate your personal and professional profiles. Set up Facebook and Twitter profiles aimed at future employers, and make sure the settings on your personal accounts are private. Include your main skills and selling points in your Twitter bio, and include a link to your resume. Make sure your avatar looks professional. Try to establish yourself as an “expert” in your field, by tweeting about the latest industry news and trends.

Use social jobseeking tools

As well as following companies you’re interested in, investigate the growing number of social recruitment tools. Services such as TweetMyJobs allow you to enter your preferences and receive regular alerts with job adverts by mobile, email or Twitter. Use tools such as LinkedIn’s Job Change Notifier to keep up to date when your connections get promoted or move company.

Engage with potential employers

How you make contact will depend on the platform. LinkedIn allows for more private conversation, so this is a good way to introduce yourself directly. But on Twitter it’s best to start with following companies and employers you’re interested in. Try to communicate your knowledge and skills before jumping in and asking about a job. While social media can be a great way of making yourself known, don’t be shy about suggesting a face-to-face meeting over coffee.

Remember, most jobs aren’t advertised. Even if a company isn’t advertising for any vacancies, you might find they have a need for someone with your particular skillset.

Research the company you’re applying for

It’s becoming more common for interviewers to ask candidates what they think of their social media feeds. Even if they don’t, it’s a good way to know the latest news about the company. It will also give you an insight into their culture, and how formal the workplace is.

Monitor your online reputation

It should go without saying that you’ve cleaned up your Facebook profile, deleted any embarrassing photos and controversial tweets. But it’s vital to be vigilant about your reputation online. If you’re concerned about this, there are a number of tools such as Google’s Social Mention that can monitor your name across social networks. And make sure you “untag” yourself in any unflattering pictures posted by friends.

Don’t forget smaller networks

Having set up professional LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, you might think you’ve covered all bases. But depending on your industry and skills, it’s worth considering other platforms. Blogs can be a great way of interacting with people in your field, and demonstrating your enthusiasm and expertise.

There are also a number of niche social networks that can be useful tools. These range from the recently launched SumZero, which allows investors to share tips, to UnTappd, a community for beer enthusiasts and the brewing industry.

Looking for a position is always tough, especially in a crowded market. But with a little effort, social media can help you make the most of your connections and find new opportunities.