Many employers expect current and potential employees — regardless of age — to have some practical knowledge of, as well as first-hand experience using, some aspect of social media. Whether a person uses LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, writing a blog, using the Internet or even texting, it demonstrates a potential employee’s ability to learn, adapt and keep up with the times. Some applicants might be surprised to find that their job application was disregarded because a potential employer was unable to find any digital activity by the individual — an indicator that the applicant is not familiar with new media.
Why does it matter so much? Employers want employees who are comfortable online in a digital world, according to Jane Bryant Quinn, a personal finance expert, in a report in AARP Bulletin. That news might come as a shock to many employees older than 50 who believe their skillset and accomplishments should speak for themselves. Employers not only want to see evidence of a potential employee’s digital prowess, they want to see their photo and recommendations or endorsements from others too — all before an interview even has been scheduled.
A strong digital footprint has the potential to be the best first impression a job applicant can make with a potential employer. Doing it right the first time matters too since those footprints are permanent. Ensuring online profiles show a potential employee to be a good fit with an organization because of his or her solid communication skills, creative problem-solving skills, broad network and understanding of appropriate communication can go a long way toward an applicant getting his or her foot in the desired employer’s door.
Bottom line, employees at all levels need to cultivate a comfort level with digital media so they can be conversant and relevant to employers, coworkers and customers alike. A reluctance to embrace new technology and development of a digital footprint could mean the difference between securing a job interview and being overlooked.
— Jeanny Sharp,
editor and publisher