Seated in a crowded theater before a Sunday matinee, I looked around and estimated that one in three people was killing time with her nose buried in her phone. I, too, scrolled through Facebook until the lights dimmed, and made a few mental notes before I silenced my phone:
There are certain friends with whom I should not discuss politics.
Sunday afternoon television preferences should best be described as “Guilty Pleasures.”
Childhood photos are stored in attics and basements for a good reason.
So imagine what hiring managers are thinking when they troll online. A 2015 survey of 400 human resources professionals found that nearly two-thirds of organizations hired employees through social media in the previous year. They turned primarily to LinkedIn (57 percent of respondents) and professional associations’ networking sites (30 percent), but a not-insignificant 19 percent had sourced new employees through Facebook, too.
Dentists in the job market should review their social media activity to strengthen their professional image and capture favorable attention from potential employers. Consider that 72 percent of HR professionals in health care specifically said when surveyed that it was very important or somewhat important for job seekers to have a social media presence. These 400 survey respondents were members of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest such organization. Members top 275,000 in 160 countries, with 575 chapters in the United States.
LinkedIn and professional associations’ sites topped survey respondents’ list of important places to have a social media presence, with greater than 80 percent of survey respondents favoring them; Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram each received less than 10 percent of respondents’ support.
Whether you’re a job seeker or a potential employer trolling social media for new hires, consider how to spot a true professional in a crowd.
The page is current. Make frequent updates to ensure information as presented is complete and accurate, including employment, education and skills.
The content is professional in its style. It’s hard in 2016 to stay out of the political debate, but avoid posts that could be considered divisive or offensive to potential colleagues and patients.
The person is professional in style. This includes the name and photos. Use your real name (this means Jane Williams rather than J-Dubs; No one wants to be examined by Dr. J-Dubs), and a professional-quality headshot as your profile. Save the image from the Wrigley Field bleachers for another use.
The page is in good company. Link to pages and sites managed by the professional organizations you belong to, the charitable projects you participate in, the schools you attended and the dental practices where you’ve worked. These hint to potential employers what your resume looks like and build your credibility.
From the human resources survey, 47 percent of respondents recommended joining social media groups that are relevant to your career. You can find the Chicago Dental Society on Facebook and LinkedIn, but also Twitter and YouTube. The CDS Foundation, Illinois State Dental Society and American Dental Association are similarly engaged in social media.
Remember that social media was made to be fun, so don’t consider this as homework. Limiting yourself to one or two sites that you actively monitor will make it easier to keep them current, and it will enable you to build a community of “friends” who respect you, your profession and your job search.
The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily the opinions of the Chicago Dental Society. CDS presents Practice Smarts, a column addressing practice management issues dentists and staff members experience in the office.
Practice Smarts is prepared by Joanna Brown, a freelance journalist.
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