Contacting HR Pros through Social Media

Summer has finally come to Minnesota and I am finding it very difficult to think about anything HR/leadership-ish outside the workday. So, I looked back to this time last year to see what was on my mind then - and this is it. Enjoy this post from the archives and one take on contacting HR pros on social media.

 iStockphoto

iStockphoto

As second nature as social media is to some, it is still new territory for others.

HR professionals are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as individuals and on behalf of their organizations.  The job seeking public is developing profiles, joining groups and liking pages in an effort to connect with these HR pros and their companies in the hopes that the two will meet for a mutually beneficial outcome.

I was asked to comment on proper etiquette for contacting HR professionals through social media, all of my chatter came down to this: be respectful of yourself and others at all times. Some of the questions and quick-shot answers are below:

Is it acceptable to contact an HR professional through LinkedIn or Twitter? What about Facebook?

Yes. Take a look at their LinkedIn or Twitter profile. If their profile is private or they request not to be contacted, honor that. Many utilize Facebook for their recruitment efforts - others do not. Hot tip: do not weave a tangled web of friends to try to gain access to an HR professional with a private profile.

When contacting HR reps, ensure your state who you are, why you are contacting them and what information you are  seeking. Don't underestimate the value of this first  impression.

Is it wise to link your personal social media accounts or blogs to LinkedIn?

Importing your blog into LinkedIn is a powerful way to engage a wider audience. Think through the content  you are importing into LinkedIn. Do your personal social media accounts present a  professional image? Do they support your professional goals? What are your objectives?

I choose not to import the content  into LinkedIn profile on a regular basis. Facebook pictures of my  daughter swimming 50m fly would be of little  professional value to my network.

How should you manage your image on your blog to not offend potential employers

Be accountable for what you say and how you  say it. Some employers are looking up candidates on social networking sites and may think twice about hiring someone with something perceived as negative  in their profile. Why? Your on-line actions can say alot about how you conduct yourself in real life.

Highlight your skills, your experiences, your ideas and your challenges. Don't be afraid to offer points of view and challenge assumptions - professionally.

What would you add? What words of wisdom would you offer to someone looking to manage their online image to land a great job?