Hide Would you expect to find a new career at a job fair if you didn’t attend? It’s a silly question, but by not putting yourself online and allowing yourself to be found by potential employers, that’s essentially what many people are expecting.

“89% of businesses will use social media networks for recruiting in 2011” - Career Enlightenment

Businesses now have an incredible resource for getting to know someone before they hire them - the social web. And if we can’t find you, we can’t hire you.

Employers Aren’t Stalking You

Job Searching with Social Media | Career Enlightenment

Respectful, reasonable employers are not determined to own their employees and understand that people have their own opinions and values. It would be unusual, uncommon, and simply bizarre for any company to monitor and evaluate what their employees are putting out there. And if they are, do you want to work for that company?

So in looking for potential employees, why would their motivations be any different? If employers combed through the hundreds of millions of people on social networks to find new talent, the task would be monstrous.

Instead, finding a good person to hire starts by first looking for people who at least say that they “want a job”. That’s a pretty clear invitation to any company that might have one. People are literally asking to be approached.

But if you aren't on LinkedIn, and don't have any platforms to express your interest in finding new work there is no way for an employer to find you. The people who draw attention to themselves on social media are far more competitive in finding a good job.

What makes it easier to find a job in 2011 is for candidates to simply increase their social presence. Let us know you’re there and we’ll wave back.

There Can Only Be One You

“The best thing about modern social networks is that they allow us to know each other better, more quickly, than we ever could before. In the real world, when we meet someone new or someone asks for a job, the first thing we do is turn to someone we know who already knows that person and we ask for a reference.” - Excerpt from Understand Social Business

People should certainly be accountable for how they represent themselves online. But they don't need a clear divide between the two.

The average worker is either going to become friends with the people they work with or end up working with someone they've known before. It’s easier to just find a balance between personal life and work than try to separate the two.

In fact, most work places could probably care less what you are saying and doing online, unless you were doing an especially good job at representing them poorly. I like to think that any company worth working for understands that you are part of a bigger world outside of the work environment. And hopefully they're also okay with you integrating parts of that outside life into your work - letting you use Twitter, Facebook, Google+ on the job, for example.

I think there is more of a stigma going on that "work and social don't mix". I think that is unnecessary and unfortunate.

Letting Yourself Be Known

"We know that you hate your résumé; hey, we hate resumes too. They don’t really represent us. They diminish our skills and demean the complexity of our experiences...The web is such a powerful resource for leveraging contacts and presenting our strengths that a curriculum vitae (CV) becomes irrelevant. It's not so much that you won't need one but that you'll never be asked for a CV because your reputation will precede you. Instead you'll just get hired." - from Trust Agents

Once you have an employer’s attention you can represent yourself a lot more accurately on social media.

A résumé only says so much. If you tweet about the stuff you like we get to know you better and are able to put a virtual face to the résumé or profile you’ve sent us, providing you aren't representing yourself poorly.

Employers Are Online Too

The simple fact is, recruiters are using social media as well. We may not always be monitoring, but it’s an extra point of contact for you to reach out to us. Businesses are proactively trying to find the right people, so be proactive in making yourself easy to find.

Social media makes getting a job a two-way event. We’re online to reach out and be contacted.

So be online. Be social. Be yourself. That’s the best prescription for finding the job role and the employer that suits you best.

Trent Seely is a member of the Employee Success team for radian6 who focuses on prospecting new talent and workforce development. Follow him on Twitter and Google+ and connect with him on Linkedin.