It’s already August and I haven’t done one of my reports this year, which is a shame. I did three last year if you want to view the archives. The point of each of these reports is to show you trends, insights and a lot of resources which will keep you in tune and up-to-date with the latest happenings in the personal branding world known as you inc. There have been a lot of developments this year, so if you haven’t been following along, you must read this post.
The economic collapse and no promise of recovery
The unemployment rate is currently 9.4% and some economists believe that it will near 10% soon enough, with no future indicators of recovery. The Department of Labor announced there were 576,000 jobless claims last week, which was higher than expected. With all of these layoffs, there are fewer jobs, which means there are obviously more people competing against each other. The aftermath is a fight for scarce positions and a need to stand out amongst everyone else.
This of course is a major driver for personal branding and what I’ve found is that smart job seekers invest a lot of time in building their brand so they can differentiate themselves from others. Another trend is the mentality that “you have nothing to lose” when you’re a job seeker right now, so why not “start a company.” In fact, 8.7% of job seekers started their own business in the second quarter of this year, compared with 4.3% a year earlier. Will the companies take off? Most won’t, BUT starting a company looks really good on a resume! Even if you’re employed right now, it’s still highly possible that you may get laid off anytime now, so be smart and start working on your brand and your network, for career protection.
Recruitment background checks, privacy issues and fired employees
Last year, in a previous Schawbel Report, I identified a survey by Careerbuilder that noted that 22% of companies were using social networks as background checks, which has escalated to 45%! 11% of companies will be using social networking sites for job screening and I predict these numbers will jump to 100% in the next three to five years because it’s a logical evolution from just drug tests and reference calls. Some of that information can be pulled online anyways! To no surprise, they are primarily using Facebook for background checks because, let’s face it, Facebook can do more harm than good. It would be rare to find someone posting negative remarks on LinkedIn, for example.
35% of employers have passed over a candidate based of what was found on a social networking site. 53% of candidates posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information and 44% posted about drinking or drugs. 14% of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon . Although this makes social networks appear bad, there is a brighter side. 18% of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate.
No policies and poor security
80% of social networks fail to use standard encryption protocols to protect sensitive user data from hackers. 71% of social networks reserve the right to share user data with third parties in their privacy policies. Since social networks aren’t secure and many are selling and reusing your data, it becomes easier to have that information appear public and get laid off or sued. Companies are still behind in having social network policies at work, so unless something is done, there will be major problems. More than 1/3 of businesses have no social media policies right now.
17% of companies report having issues with employee’s use of social media and 8% of those companies report having actually dismissed someone for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s double from last year, where just 4% reported having to fire someone over social media misuse.
Companies are banning social networks at work
Why do you think social networks would be banned at work? Productivity reasons? Maybe companies are scared that they may lose their employees to competitors? Legal reasons? I would say all of these three, but, in my opinion, a lot more companies will have policies and/or permit social networks in the future, due to the rise of the Gen-Y worker. I can’t name one Gen-Y’er that would not allow Facebook at work and since this group will be in charge soon enough, it’s obvious where we are heading.
Executives are part of the reason that social networks are being banned from work. In fact, 32% of executives aren’t comfortable being ‘friended’ on social networks by workers and 33% aren’t comfortable at all being ‘friended’ by people they manage. 80% of executives are fearful of social networking risks and in 2007, this number was at 50%.
There are two surveys that have come out about companies blocking social media sites. One by ScanSafe that says 76% block them and the other by the American Management Association, which states that 71% of IT departments block social networks at work.
The size of your network is now a job qualification
You must have Twitter followers
This is a statement that I predicted in October of 2008 and now we’re starting to see companies adopt this ideology, such as Best Buy. Best Buy is hiring a new employee and the job description says “Must have at least 250 Twitter followers.” For a social media position this makes sense because if you aren’t on Twitter or you have no followers, you probably don’t have influence or know what you’re doing anyways. I see this expanding into other roles, especially inside marketing and communications.
If you’re in marketing then you better know social media
Among those responsible for hiring PR and marketing employees, 82% of respondents say mainstream media relations expertise is either important or very important, while more than 80% say knowledge of social networks is either important or very important. A CMO Poll stated that 8.9% of CMO’s feel that social media proficiency is important when hiring marketers. 2 out of every 3 marketers use social media right now, which, in my opinion, is very low. 80% of companies, overall, feel that knowledge of social networks is important when making hiring decisions.
Networking is still the #1 most important job (people) search strategy
I’ve spoken a lot about networking on this blog, as well as my other contributors. I believe in people searching over job searching, as people make the final decisions whether you get the job or not. Well, recent research has once again confirmed the realization that networking is the key to getting jobs. Right now, 80% of HR people value networking as the best way to get a job (Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.). 66% said social networking sites, which, if you think about it, is the online form of networking anyways.
Reputation management 3.0
We’ve already gone over, many times, how to use various tools to verify and review your online reputation. Besides Backtype.com, Technorati, Google alerts, and Twitter search, now we all have to worry about a very important site, Facebook! Facebook has recently released a strong real-time search engine, which tracks conversations between you and your friends, as well as the Facebook population, which is at 260 million. This is different than the 26 million people on Twitter and because it’s easier to organize Facebook search results, it is imperative that you start using this new feature. By searching for your brand name on Facebook and tracking down mentions, you will has more insight into what people are saying about you.
The death of job boards and the birth of new strategies
R.I.P. job boards
Although, there is much more traffic to job boards recently because of the amount of job seekers there are now, fewer jobs are being posted. 560,000 fewer jobs were posted last month, but they (Monster/Careerbuilder, etc) gained 33% more traffic. With fewer advertised jobs, and more job seekers, job boards are making more on content advertising and less on job advertising and it’s harder to get a job using these sites (more competition).
Google is the new job board
Google has over 64% of the search share and is becoming one of the top places to source candidates and for job seekers to advertise their personal brands. If you compare job boards with Google, there are 300 million searches for jobs in Google each month versus a mere 10 million for job boards. Recruiters will have to make their job boards optimized for search and they’ve already begun doing it. For example, EMC (where I work) has launched EMC-Careers.com, where there are positions that are optimized for search. Many other companies are doing this as well.
Skip job boards and go straight to video
You better start getting good on camera! Video can be used for showcasing what it’s like to work at your company (employer branding), to post and distribute jobs (jobsinpods.com), to hold career fairs, to interview candidates, for worker screening and more. 25% of the content that workers view each day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio by 2013. Also, YouTube is one of the most popular sites in the world. There are already sites that cater to this new Video outranks YouTube as the fifth-most popular website in the United States. Some video interviewing sites include Greenjobinterview.com, Clooks.com, and Hirevue.com. Interviewing through video saves the company money and makes it a better experience. Phone interview are horrible and should be replaced by video interviews asap.
Working for free to build your brand
As I said before, branding by association is the single most powerful idea in personal branding, especially when you’re first starting out. When you’re unknown, it’s best to attach yourself to people or companies that are known immediately. Most people won’t work for free and think it’s pointless, yet it’s the easiest way to attach yourself to a brand, which can then serve as an endorsement and/or case study, which can then change your life and make you wildly successful. I came across a free eBook that a Gen-Y’er made and it talks about how he worked for Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi for free and then was able to start his own business. In 2008, one million more American’s volunteered. No resume lists how much money you made at each position, which is why working for free helps build your experience so you can make the money you didn’t get and more back very quickly.