Interaction Across Social Media Platforms

I recently received an interesting comment on my 10 Thoughts for Friday post. I mentioned in the post that I respond to invites from people on LinkedIn with a short message asking them to clarify why they’re connecting with me. My wording:

Hi x, 

Thank you for the invitation to connect on LinkedIn! I wanted to check in and see what you were interested in connecting about since I don’t believe we’ve met in person.  

Thank you and take care,

Cristina

Vicki commented on the post and urged me to accept the LinkedIn contacts, stating that “Nearly never will you be connected to by a weirdo – and if you are, it doesn’t reflect on you. LinkedIn is simply about building your network, sharing ideas, and making new business acquaintances…” In contrast, her thoughts were to be more cautious with Facebook and Twitter: “this is where I might use your response, to vet your new connections.” Lastly she said “You want your FB friends to actually be friends (or, I do).”

All of this got me thinking about how different individuals interact across social media platforms, their actions often based on assumptions or past experiences. Although there are very few formal rules governing our social media interactions, people have formed divergent ideas of etiquette- some platform by platform and others about social media as a whole.

Here is how I approach each platform and why:

  • LinkedIn: By now, you know my philosophy on LinkedIn. I accept people I know and follow up with those I don’t know. But there’s a reason that I don’t readily accept everyone: I actually had a weird experience with LinkedIn that changed my perspective a bit. I was added by an individual who was connected to others that I know and trust. Turns out, he wanted me to join his iffy business venture. I don’t think I would have been so trusting if I hadn’t seen that others I knew were connected to him. Hence my reasoning for being more cautious in accepting invites. There are also features on LinkedIn that lend themselves to keeping a curated network. You can ask contacts to connect you to their contacts. If people in the chain don’t know each other in real life, it dilutes the effectiveness of this feature because they are unable to vouch for each other. For more on my LinkedIn philosophy, see my post To Connect or Not to Connect: The Rules of LinkedIn.
  • Twitter: My love affair with Twitter is well-known. I see it as the most open of all the social networks. I welcome any and all follows that are not porn bots 🙂  Unless you have a closed account, you can’t control who follows you, so I don’t think it reflects on you (in contrast to LinkedIn, for example, where you have to make a decision whether to accept or reject a connection). As for who I follow: if I am interested in the content of the tweets, I will follow the person. I see Twitter as more about content than relationships (in contrast again to LinkedIn).
  • Foursquare: I sometimes get requests from strangers on FourSquare, which I decline. I share the check-ins that I want others to see on Twitter, but I prefer only my friends to see some, so I think it’s important to keep this network closed.
  • Facebook: As Vicki said, Facebook is for your real friends. 100% agreed! As I said in my comment to her, I see it as the only place on the internet where I can be my 22 (almost 23!) year old self. One thing that makes it slightly more complicated: Raleigh networking is very casual, so sometimes the line between friend and acquaintance blurs. In the past year, I’ve begun accepting business contacts, which I have mixed feelings about.
  • Pinterest: I’m not sharing anything particularly personal, so I’m flattered when people follow my boards. I follow boards of friends and other people that I stumble upon 🙂
  • Blog: The more the merrier!

Clearly, I approach each social media platform differently. I think it’s important to do so because they all have unique missions and features that make them more fitting for one kind of relationship over another (i.e. LinkedIn provides more value to business relationships than friendships). If I were to approach each platform in the same way, I may as well just be using one, right?

Where do you stand? Why? Do you approach social media as a whole or platform by platform? 

Thank you to Vicki for prompting such an interesting discussion!

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Determining Your Workplace Priorities

I’ve been thinking recently about the factors that I value most in a job. Below are some factors that I take into consideration. For each one, I make sure to ask myself several questions, “How will this work?” “Does it matter to me?” and “How much does it matter to me?”

 

Flexibility: Will you be able to take time off, set your own hours, and work from home occasionally? Can you work less than full-time? Can you pursue other projects on the side? To what extent do these factors affect your feelings about a potential workplace?

I value my flexibility as a virtual worker immensely. I love being able to work from home or Starbucks occasionally and take long weekends when I want, knowing I can make up my hours on weeknights or the following weekend. Most importantly, I love working part-time, owning a business on the side, and having time for my blog, Change the Triangle, and my social life.

Work/Life Balance: Along the same lines, are you expected to stay until 8 or 9pm or are you allowed to bolt at (or before) 5pm? Does the employer encourage you to have a healthy work/life balance or give your life over to the company? Either way, does it matter to you?

I don’t really have a work/life balance struggle since I work virtually. If I were to work full-time from an office, I would want the ability to maintain a healthy outside life. I feel like I lose a lot of my productivity when I’m forced to keep crazy hours and sacrifice healthy eating and exercising (that being said, I love the adrenaline of occasional late nights and firm deadlines).

Income and benefits: Will you be paid on a salary, hourly wage, or commission or a combination? Will you receive full benefits like a 401k and medical and dental? Do you have a back-up plan if you won’t receive benefits (like the ability to be on a family member’s plan)?

It’s important for me to have a solid income but if I were to pit financials against other factors, it would absolutely rank lower than some others.

Mental and emotional stimulation: Is the job mentally and emotionally challenging for you? Does it help you grow as a person? Again, are these priorities for you or are you fine taking a job that doesn’t propel you forward?

This is incredibly important for me. I can’t stay passionate for a job that doesn’t push me, challenge me, and help me grow. For me, there’s a time and place for doing work that you’re familiar and comfortable with, but tackling new exciting projects is a priority.

Physical surroundings: Think about the location and aesthetics of your workplace. Do you need a chic, elegant office or is a sparse cubicle fine with you? Does the office’s proximity to your home and local resources matter? If you will work virtually, will you work from your bed, a home office, Starbucks, a coworking space, a Regus office suite, or a combination?

My surroundings are somewhat important to me. I value natural lighting, comfortable chairs, and easy access to water, bathrooms, and coffee 🙂 For me, The Raleigh Forum is the perfect blend of comfy but chic. I don’t think I would feel comfortable in a super fancy office. A short commute is very important to me. Additionally, I like working in an office that has restaurants, coffee shops, and activities within walking distance. As a virtual worker, I also value having access to a coworking space because working from home 24/7 makes me stir-crazy!

Office setting: Do you want fun office amenities like a ping pong table and free beer on Fridays or are these superfluous for you? Do you prefer business formal, business casual, or Silicon Valley attire?

I love having a laid-back, fun office. When I worked at The Washington Diplomat, I felt more productive when I was able to take short darts breaks throughout the day! That being said, I don’t need crazy amenities like pony or helicopter rides 🙂 Business casual or office casual attire is the perfect fit for me- cute flats or kitten heels, a skirt or jeans, a cute top, and a blazer.

Coworkers & boss: How important is it for you to have good relationships with your coworkers and boss? Do you want them to be friends or just 9-5 acquaintances? Does their age, gender, and other factors matter to you?

Having solid relationships with my coworkers is important to me. I love feeling comfortable with my coworkers but I don’t expect my social life to revolve around them.

Autonomy: Along the same lines, does the job and your boss offer you autonomy and freedom? Will you make your own decisions or follow the instructions of a superior?

Autonomy is key for me. I feel most productive when I’m self-directed, passionate, and in control. That’s not to say I can’t take direction or I don’t value having a boss and coworkers that I can use as resources!

Security: In a rocky economy, job security is harder to come by. Are you comfortable with having a less secure job (like at a start-up) a or do you strive for a more secure career (tenure, anyone?)? What can you do to increase your job security (like signing a 2 year contract)?

I feel comfortable with the ambiguity of both owning my own business and working at a maturing start-up. For me, job security is a nice perk but not mandatory.

Company values & ethics: Is corporate social responsibility a part of the company’s mission? Do they do well by their direct and indirect stakeholders, including employees, the public, and the environment?

This is a big factor for me. I want to believe in the mission and values of the company that I work for. I strive to work for companies that not only do the right thing in the community but also internally (such as promoting a healthy work/life balance- see above).

What other priorities do you take into account? Which priorities are the most and least important to you when choosing a job?

link roundup for the week

Straight from The Kitchn: the best way to measure fresh herbs.

Allie of Eat Run Read got to attend a fancy dinner hosted Chobani– all the dishes contained the Greek yogurt. Now that is smart marketing 🙂 I may or may not have my own little Chobani posts in the works 🙂 In the meantime, follow my Chobani updates on Twitter!

Still confused about giving up gluten? Here’s a little crash course.

Be careful not to make these 3 LinkedIn blunders when job searching!

From The New Professional- four questions to ask when you’re lacking direction (this one’s for you, recent grads!).

In the mood to shed a few tears? Check out these 75 day-brightening stories of generosity.

I’m going to be the best party guest ever when I show up with these homemade watermelon mojito popsicles! Maybe I’ll bring these bangin’ shrimp skewers too 🙂

I stumbled across the Happiness Project awhile back and fell in love with Gretchen’s approach to life- she spent a year “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.” Here are 7 ways she sparks her creativity {I need these when I’m feelin’ uninspired}.

how to efficiently monitor content on the web

1) Google Reader: I use Google Reader as both as professional and personal (read: blog) resource. I subscribe to interesting blogs and websites, then check in 1-2 times per day to read up on my new content. High on my list: Lifehacker, The Kitchn, The Everygirl, and a billion lifestyle/cooking blogs (including all the blog girls!). I love that you can star posts to refer back to at a later time. You can also create folders to group subscriptions by topic (e.g. design, fashion, cooking, work, etc).

2) Google Alerts: I mentioned awhile back how important it is to monitor the internet for references to yourself. But you can also use Google Alerts to search for miscellaneous content across the web- I have an alert set up for “social recruiting” and one for “Boolean AND recruiting” so I can stay up-to-date on the recruiting field. The best part? You can have all Google Alert content sent directly to your Google Reader (see above!).

3) Twitter: I’m obsessed with Twitter and everyone knows it! Without harping on all the benefits, I’ll leave you with two tips: use lists to filter content by user (I have a ton set up but don’t actually use them often). In addition, save searches and check them regularly (I have “The Raleigh Forum, “Raleigh coworking,” and “#socialrecruiting,” among others).

4) LinkedIn: LinkedIn Today is daily news based on your profile details and interests- I always find one or two interesting articles when I browse! Yet another incentive to keep your profile up-to-date…

Staying on top of news and content in my fields (yes, that’s plural!), in addition to browsing interesting content just for the heck of it, is an important part of my daily routine. I love having a little system in place to do it effectively.

How do you efficiently and effectively monitor for interesting content on the internet?

Source: weheartit.com via Debbie on Pinterest

a retrospect: top + favorite posts from my blog

It’s interesting for me to look at which blog posts of mine get the most traffic vs which ones are my favorite. There is some overlap between the two.  Part of my mission with this post is to bring to light some of my poor neglected posts that I think deserve a spotlight! I put my favorites in bold and added a few others below.

Some of my top posts (in order):

Some of my other favorite posts:

to connect or not to connect: the rules of linkedin

I’ve become really interested in the rules- both written and unwritten- of online networking, especially on LinkedIn. As I use it more and more for my job, I realize how incredibly valuable it can be…if done correctly. But what is “correct” is open to interpretation based on individual preferences, industry, and even generation. But I got myself into a very sticky situation recently (not unsafe but definitely uncomfortable), so I think taking time to think about the rules of online conduct is very important.

So here are some miscellaneous ramblings on my LinkedIn views.

I recently added a note in the “Contact Cristina for” section that says, “Please feel free to contact me here or on Twitter (@cmroman). If we have not yet met in person, please send me a personalized message so that I know why you are interested in connecting. Thank you :)”

I tried to say it in a pleasant way and that was the best I could come up with! I feel horribly pretentious writing this request, but I get a lot of invitations now that I have my new position listed. For some reason, people want to connect with a person in the recruiting department!

So when people I don’t know invite me to connect and they don’t write a personalized message, I can either 1) accept it, 2) ignore it, 3) click “I don’t know this person,” or 4) send them a message.

1) Occasionally, I will accept an invitation from someone I’ve never met IF we share multiple contacts whose judgment I trust.

2) Definitely the route I take at times. Intuition is critical, even (or especially) online.

3) I read an interesting blog post this morning about why not to do this. The writer told of a man who invited a woman, whom he’d met once, to connect and she clicked “I don’t know this person.” It turns out that she just didn’t remember and ended up losing a bid for a project because he was offended by her rejection. I’m torn on this- I think clicking “I don’t know this person” is a bit harsh, but at the same time, they’ve failed to follow the guidelines that I set forth.

4) Today I sent a message to someone who added me saying “Hi {blank}, Thank you for the invitation to connect. Have we met in person recently? Thanks for refreshing my memory, Cristina.” Slightly awkward but necessary, I think.

One tool on LinkedIn that is very valuable- “Get introduced through a connection.” When I was job searching way back when, I used this feature to call upon my network for their help. Most people were more than happy to help because we had “IRL” ( (in real life) relationship.

A commenter on a blog made a great point that adding people you don’t know dilutes your social network and can jeopardize your social equity. If a stranger asks me to vouch for them for a job, I have nothing on which to base my opinion. Thus, my social network becomes less valuable to both me and others. Likewise, if I ask a connection to introduce me to one of their connections, it would be a waste of time for both me and them if they had to respond back that they didn’t in fact know this individual IRL.

the eternal resume debates

Since I read a billion resumes every week, I spend a lot of time thinking about common debates in the Human Resources/Recruiting world.

  • Objective or no objective: I don’t have one, but I am considering adding one. I like them if they are done correctly. Don’t apply to a social commerce company and tell me you’re interested in agriculture! I like ones that use strong words like “proactive” and “passionate.” Phrases like “hard worker” and “follow instructions” mean nothing to me.
  • WPM: I think it’s odd to include this for a position other than Executive Assistant/Administrative Assistant/Office Assistant, etc
  • Salary range requested: I’m interested in knowing others’ opinions on this. Some companies mandate it, but unless they do, I generally think too forward to mention it in your cover letter.
  • Education: Where do you list it? I’ve always put it on the top of my resume, but I often see it at the bottom. I don’t have a strong opinion on this.
  • Acknowledging that you aren’t a “traditional fit”: I respect this. When someone has a resume that doesn’t directly fit the job description, I like reading their reason for applying in their cover letter as long as it doesn’t sound defensive.
  • Mention of employment gaps: I generally say wait until the potential employer brings it up. Red flags go up when I see explanations that sound like excuses or playing the victim.
  • Writing in 3rd person: Against.
  • *EDITED: “Looking for a position where I can advance quickly”: I feel like writing this in your objective is at best, unnecessary, and at worst, presumptuous. I mean, who isn’t looking to advance quickly in their career?
  • *EDITED: One-page vs longer: I forgot to include this in my original post! This is actually the issue I’m most interested in. I’ve always kept my resume to one page, but more and more, I’m seeing longer ones. What do you think? What is the maximum? I’ve seen five page ones, way too long in my opinion!

What are your opinions of debates above? I would be interested to see if there is a difference of opinion based on industry, generation, education level, etc. 

*As always, my blog posts represent solely my own views, not those of my employer.

P.S. I just created a Career Development category, so check it out for my musings on job hunting, networking, resume writing, applying to jobs, etc.

confessions of a recruiting specialist, part 1

I have quite a bit of experience reading resumes- I chose 24 guides for Community Building Community, I helped choose 15 freshmen for Compass Partners, I’m in the process of hiring an Office Assistant with my sister…oh, and I work in a recruiting department.

So what advice do I have?

  • Don’t worry about applying to more than one job in a company, but don’t apply to too many (I get wary around 4/5)
  • Always read the instructions. Then re-read them. Then re-read them again. We’ve tossed applications for the Office Assistant position because they failed to write a paragraph on why they’re perfect for the job (which we specifically asked for).
  • Don’t  mass-email your resume. We actually had someone put multiple recipients in the “To” line. This should be incredibly obvious, but apparently it’s not.
  • Never say that your resume is available once you are offered an interview. I don’t know any recruiter who has time for those kinds of games.
  • Tow the line between a cover letter that is too brief and too long. Three to four paragraphs is Goldilocks-approved.
  • “Optional” does not mean “optional.” It means “Do it or risk looking like you don’t care enough to spend time on your application.”
  • Do not email from an address that is has explicit or implicit sexual  undertones. Again, an obvious. No “Sexy [or Sexi],” “4You,” etc. The “first name, last name” formula still works pretty darn well.
  • Volunteering is voluntary. Raising your own child does not qualify as a volunteer project.
  • Use punctuation. Period. And PrOpEr CaPitAlization. And well speling and gramar.
  • The standard format of a resume still works. No need to get fancy or “creative.” Bullet points > numbers.
  • Creativity is encouraged but don’t cross the line into inappropriate.
  • Personalize your application- a simple Google search can often tell you who to address your cover letter to.
  • Whenever possible, link to your LinkedIn profile and/or Twitter account. This demonstrates initiative and thoroughness, as well as experience with social media. If your Twitter name includes the word “stud” or “babe” or “sexy,” maybe don’t include it. Better yet, maybe delete it.
  • Google yourself periodically. Even better, set up a Google alert for your name so that you see all new posts about you.
  • Make your Facebook profile private. Hide any inappropriate posts/pictures/profiles, etc. Companies DO check this. If there are inappropriate postings about you out there, ask for them to be taken down. If they can’t be, begin building an online presence to push the bad results further down in searches (i.e. start a blog, a Twitter account, post on forums related to your interestes, etc).

P.S. My sister and I are cracking up as I write this post (with her assistance!). Oh, the memories.

What advice do you have for individuals applying to jobs?

*The views expressed above are my own. They do not represent the views of my employer.

looking for a job? cultivate your network

Entering the workforce in May? Looking for a beneficial internship? Cultivate your network! According to research, about 60% of jobs are filled through networking and informal contacts, not advertising or applications sent to “info@blank.com” addresses.

Asking friends, professors, and mentors for help with your job search allows you to call upon their expertise and connections in a meaningful, personal way. Here are a few tips for asking effectively:

  • Acknowledge that you are asking for their help because you trust their judgment and value their opinions (who wouldn’t be flattered?!)
  • Follow up!  Failing to follow up with someone who helped you can sour a relationship if they feel like they are being used.
  • Use discretion when asking individuals for their help; don’t ask for help from someone you wouldn’t be willing to help in return
  • Make it easy on them: send your resume & areas of interest. I even included a list of companies I was interested in and asked 1) if they knew anyone there and 2) if they knew of similar companies (see screenshot below for my email template!)
  • Use the “Get Introduced” feature on LinkedIn. I happened to know of a girl who worked at a company I wanted to join, so I searched for her on LinkedIn. I saw that we had a friend in common, so I asked him to connect us. Voila- instant connection!

All of this being said, don’t be afraid to take a shot in the dark. You never know unless you ask! When I was a freshmen, I saw a Washington Diplomat golf tournament flyer in an office. I called them and asked if they needed volunteers for the event. The man on the phone asked if I was looking to “rub elbows with ambassadors.” I laughingly admitted that I was. That man became my boss for the year that I interned at the newspaper; in fact, on May 6, I will be working my 4th consecutive golf tournament for them!

Addendum: check out BranchOut, an application that allows you to capitalize on your network of Facebook friend during your job search!