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This question may seem like a no-brainer at first, but after pondering it for a few hours, I'm actually doubting the obvious answer.

It would seem like one shouldn't include their social media information on a résumé, but after spending the past few days I've noticed quite a few employers actually ask for this information to be included. Besides the ones that actually ask for it upfront, I can't help but believe that the majority of employers "snoop" around the social media of prospective employees at some point.

Is the inclusion of social media contact information on a résumé more helpful for getting the interview?

  • Hello, I edited this to focus on the goal, getting the interview, and less on whether or not it's a good idea. Hope this helps! – jmort253 Jul 28 '13 at 19:52
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    Thanks jmort - I wasn't really sure if it was appropriate to include either. – Djang Mulando Jul 28 '13 at 19:54
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I have a fairly technical Twitter stream. If I was to use a resume to apply for things (I don't) I would be sure to include it. If I forgot for some reason, and someone asked for it, I would provide it without hesitation, along with a rough estimate of my followers etc.

But if your Twitter is non technical, full of pictures of beer, dirty jokes, swearing, strong political opinions, and nothing that would make an employer think "I want this person on my team!" then keep it to yourself and your friends. On a form, leave it blank. If they ask, just say "I don't have a technical Twitter." Similarly for Facebook. If you routinely share links to technical material, reviews of conferences you've attended and books you've read, and you don't share pictures of yourself getting drunk or the like, then you could include it, if not say "Facebook is only for close personal friends." Your LinkedIn of course should be entirely professional, that's the point of it. You might also consider your StackExchange activities to be entirely professional too, and might operate here under a handle rather than your real name, so providing your handle might be a good idea, or a link to your Careers profile.

If you tell an interviewer, "I don't have a technical blog/Twitter/Facebook" they might push you to reveal it. But a form you're filling out to get an interview will not. So reveal only the profiles that make you look good technically.

I believe in an interview it would take tremendous chutzpah for an interviewer to tell me "oh that's fine, I don't want to check your technical profile, I want to look you over personally." If they did, I think I would just go with the firm stare that lasts long enough to let them know they've done something they shouldn't, and then repeat "I don't have a technical Twitter" or whatever and sit quietly. It's hard for me to be sure, because the only Twitter I have is technical, the only blog I have is technical, and I have a "public figure" Facebook. But I have been asked overly prying questions before and I find that it works: just stare for a little too long and then either repeat your previous non-answer, or say something meta like "if you're trying to find out more about my internet presence, " and then provide a roughly equivalent piece of information. Back in the day women would be asked about plans for marriage and babies, and I would do the stare and then say "if you're curious about my long term career plans I'd be delighted to discuss that" and go on to say what I wanted to do (at work) over the next 5-10 years. You could take a similar approach to overly prying requests for internet profiles.

And if you don't have any technical profile at all anywhere, consider getting one. It's free and easy and makes you look much more valuable.

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I'd have 2 questions that I'd use to determine the answer to this:

  1. Is social media part of the job? If you're applying to be a Community Manager of Social Media for a company, then chances are you should include these details as something that would be useful to show that you know the technology.

  2. Are there skills demonstrated through one's use of social media? This is slightly peripheral though the idea here is what is the point of someone looking at your tweets, pictures on Instagram or other social media history? If there is something there that shows you used a technology at one point then it may make sense to put it into the resume.

If those aren't applicable, then I'd leave it off as otherwise you're bringing up something that isn't relevant which on some resumes may be enough to be taken out of the running I'd imagine as this shows less than great judgment in a way. Granted this is a bit of a stretch but if you can't narrow down the story of your life to the relevant points for a job, how are you going to handle writing up a report or proposal and not throw in useless trivia that may hurt your team or department's chances of looking good to the executives or other companies.

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Is the inclusion of social media contact information on a résumé more helpful for getting the interview?

It depends on the methodology the company uses to filter who will be interviewed. And there is no way to know how a company does it in either the general case, or the specific case of the job you are applying for.

  • Filtering may be just by keyword. If the have enough keywords you make it to the next round.
  • Next they might have a person in HR read the remaining resumes. They may be filtering on specific technical terms that they might or might not fully understand. Or they might have domain expertise with a good understanding of the specific needs of the position.
  • Further filtering may be required to bring the number of resumes down to a maximum number to be called. This may be a technical person doing this filter, or management, or HR. Sometimes they just take X random ones from the ones that passed the earlier filter. Or they take them all because they only had a few pass the earlier filters.
  • At this point no references have been called. It is up to the company regarding internet searches.
  • Interviews are now arranged. There may be several rounds starting at phone screens. The number and type of interviews will depend on the position, and the technical requirements.

Does a LinkedIn bio carry more weight than a resume? One with few contacts might not be worth anything. One created just days before the application was submitted is not anymore reliable.

If you provide them with a way to absolutely link you with a specific social media account, then you are opening yourself up to a source of negative info. If they were to Google a common name, and make a hiring determination based on what they found they would be making decisions on untrusted data. If they know that you are claiming this particular account, they know the negative info has been blessed or acknowledged by you.

Unless they use the information on the social media account to reach out to others to give recommendations, they are still basing their evaluation on a document that you wrote.

I only see the confirmed social media account as a way to eliminate candidates who have applied. Although in what seems to be a contradiction, social media accounts are used to solicit potential candidates.

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In some ways this is almost like a credibility/reliability check on an employee, unless it is relevant to the work that you are doing. I guess it also depends on the type of social media they are referring to, since there are also professional groups or networks online like LinkedIn and StackExchange, even Deviant Art, Behance, Dribbble and others that are specific to particular professions. I would even consider KickStarter or CrowdSpring as social media related information that an employer would find of interest.

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I assume social media and social networking is being used interchangeably?

Either way, when you present something to an employer you want to present something professional. If your Facebook page has a lot of inappropriate comments, conversations, pictures, etc, do not present that. But you are right, many employers might Google your name.

This is why you should create a professional and detailed LinkedIn profile. It is for professionals to present themselves. As a matter of fact, set your Facebook to private so that only your friends can see your wall. In my experience, when you Google a person's name, most of the time a LinkedIn profile is one of the top search results. Try it. So if you want to reduce the chance of employers looking at your Facebook/Google+ profile, then have a LinkedIn profile to intercept it.

Here is my experience with LinkedIn in the professional field. I sent an email to an employer asking for an open position. I did not want to include my resume yet because I didn't want to be pushy about it. I wanted to first know if the position is open and if the employer would like to see my resume. But I did have an email signature that included my LinkedIn profile. Long story short I got hired without ever sending my employer my resume because my LinkedIn profile was enough to get me the interview.

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When I look at the OPs profile, I don't see much, but I do see links to Graphics Design and Stack Overflow. This would suggest a website designer. This, in turn, suggests someone that may or may not be creating plugins, ecommerce sites, Flash media, and so forth. In such a context HR would wonder 'Are you living under a rock?' if there is no mention of social media. In short, how are you going to design and code for stuff if you don't use them, and if you do use them 'how do you use them?'.

Of course, if you're a Neanderthal on-line, don't apply at a bank. Be prepared to spent a few years as a 'first person shooter' game developer for adolescents.

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