Social Media Jobs

Questions posed to Tom Standage (Digital director, Economist) about the role of social media in job hunting.

my name’s Tom Standage I’m the digital editor at The Economist magazine and I’m also the author of several history books on my most recent book is called writing on the wall social media the first two thousand years and it provides a sort of longview of social media going back to the Roman period that’s a good one but I think generally I think you need to be be yourself and be honest you need to need to be a two way street so people are going to follow you and be interested in you if you’re doing you know something useful sharing useful information contributing to the discussion and not just AM you can tell when people have kind of been forced to use social media they’re the CEO of a company although an author of a book and they’ve been told you really need to be on social media and all they do is kind of sit there and them and say buy my book will do this or my company’s really cool and you just kind of think oh this isn’t what it’s about it’s meant to be a conversation so I think if you’re if you’re genuinely part of the conversation then social media is great because you can make contact with your peers and then through them you can make contact with with other people so I think being being genuine and contributing something are two really important things what else is there I think being quite promiscuous on using lots of social platforms is very important there’s the classic case that you are most likely to find work through weak ties rather than strong ties so platforms that allow you to have weak ties are probably going to be more useful so that would mean linkedin twitter rather than say facebook where friendships have to be approved in two directions be yourself and you know make participate in the conversation a two way a two way thing and and choose platforms carefully said that they allow weak ties because weak ties are ultimately what you need lots of in order to make contacts and find work yeah i’m not sure linkedin is a digital cv i think the best way to think of it is there’s a kind of digital rolodex so you essentially you know the way you play the game is you say yes to all contacts and then you’re likely to be connected to as many people as possible and then if you need to sort of find someone the chances are that you you know you know them or you know someone who knows them so that’s the kind of game people play and it is more like a Rolodex than the CV at the economists when we hire we’re not really that interested in the Seabees because our hiring process for journalists is that we asked for an example article and you know we say send in your send in your application including an article that you think could appear in the economist and those articles are actually an amazingly good way of judging whether somebody would be a good journalist or not because really you know people who understand what they’re supposed to do and write an article would write it well you can spot them straightaway and if in fact they just sort of recycle recycle a piece from you know from the newspaper and don’t do a very good job then then you because you can sort of see that they’re not really blocking up the right tree so actually what we tend to do is ignore the Seavey’s look at the articles that gives us a pretty good idea of you know who’s worth talking to and who isn’t and at that point we go back and and look at the CVS and you know talk to people’s references and so on so I think for us the CV has never been that important anyway.