Rarely a week goes by without a new controversy being introduced around Google or Facebook's use of users' private information. Such news makes it clear that though social media at first seemed mean to entirely benefit users, its advantage has increasingly become skewed (at least more openly so) toward companies. In the job market, this transformation chronologically coincides with companies paying less and less attention to job boards and increasing the value of networking, both in the social media sense and the traditional one. Individuals looking to become analysts, for example, now-or rather again-need to focus just as much attention on investment banking networking as on online resume postings.
We've discussed this latter trend before, but a recent article by Phyllis Korkki in the Job Market section of The New York Times introduced yet another aspect to the social media recruitment paradigm: In certain industries, companies' HR departments are taking search initiatives via social media networks. In other words, rather looking for a candidate's online profiles only after the individual has applied for a position, recruiters are starting to look online for individuals who have yet to apply but whose web presence indicates that they have what it takes to fill a certain position. Street of Walls experts have not yet seen this trend within the financial job market specifically, but that does not mean it isn't coming-or that the lessons of this new recruitment paradigm aren't applicable to finance and investment banking networking as well. Anyone currently looking for a job, even and especially on Wall Street, needs to start making his- or herself searchable now.
Street of Walls breaks down invest banking networking tactics, including tips for building your web presence. The perfect place to start is with the alumni network for your undergrad or graduate school. Almost every university now has a website and online social network for its alums. Use it.
A LinkedIn is another primary necessity for job-seekers, because it is tailored for use by professionals. Its group functions are an especially vital and often overlooked tool for current job candidates. Whether via an alumni or other special interest group, if recruiters can easily find a connection between you and someone from their company, it can only help you out.
Equally important to note is that when it comes to job recruitment, the old adage "all press is good press" is wrong. If a friend's Facebook or blog post detailing a night of your drunken revelry together is easily searchable, it is not a good thing for you as a potential hiree. Have friends-if they must refer to you in such posts-use a nickname or partial name for you, and do not post searchable photos that show you in a poor light (i.e. doing a keg stand).
These days it is just not an option to not be online. So whether you are currently a social media master or still taking your first steps into the virtual networking world, continue to build on what you have. Hone that expertise or accelerate those steps to a run-your job search will thank you.