On Tuesday I moderated a PRSA social media panel and the conversation has me thinking. While we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about how to find a job through social media, we did touch on it and the message was clear. I wanted to share it with you today to prepare you for Help A PR Pro Out (#HAPPO) day on Friday.

First, to give the panel some credibility in your eyes, this is who I got to spend a couple of hours with during lunch:

* MJ Tam, the editor of Chicagonista;
* Rick Wion, the social media director at McDonald’s;
* Reid Lappin, the co-founder of VOKAL Interactive;
* Jack Monson, a VP at eNR; and
* Adam Keats, the digital practice leader at Weber-Shandwick.

Big hitters…lots of fun and interesting conversation.

The discussion turned to how people should use social media to connect with and engage with potential employers. And, just like we discussed in the video blog last week (see it here), it was no surprise to hear that these five companies (six, if you include Arment Dietrich) are using social media to stalk you online, find out what you do and say in your personal time, and how you interact with friends, family, colleagues, and customers.

I posed the question, “Social media is not a Monday through Friday, 9-5, job. How can people still enjoy work/life balance while living under these constraints?”

And everyone overwhelmingly said, that in our industry, in today’s digital world, they will not hire someone who isn’t using social media daily in their personal lives.

I agree. If we receive a resume for someone who is talented and has great experience, we likely will put them at the bottom of the list if they do not blog, use Twitter or Facebook, have a YouTube or Vimeo channel, have a Flickr page, or use Foursquare already. Not to say you have to do all of it, but you have to do something because instilling an understanding that this is not a Monday through Friday, 9-5 job, will be impossible if you’re not already practicing what we preach.

On the flip side, be careful what you do post online because if it’s perceived negatively, it won’t matter to a potential employer how proficient you are in using the tools.

So, some advice for job seekers, no matter your level:

* Connect and engage with employers you are interested in working for; it can be the CEO or the intern, just find a way in.

* Use the social media tools to build your personal brand; we all look for this and will stalk you online for many days, weeks, or (even) months before we invite you in for an interview.

* Don’t be negative. Even if you’ve been out of a job for a year and you’re getting desperate, don’t vent about it online. Sure, a bad day happens, but if it’s a daily occurrence, no employer in their right mind will touch you with a 10 foot pole.

So Help a PR Pro Out. What advice do you have for job seekers?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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