Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Social Networking and Job Hunting....Good or Bad?

In the middle of all this writing, editing and marketing I am doing for my books, I am also having to tackle something fairly new for me....unemployment.  I have been unemployed for four months for the first time in my life in likely the most challenging times our country has seen since the Great Depression of the 1920's.  I have been incredibly enlightened to the financial condition of our great country in a very personal way.

My previous company filed bankruptcy and I became unemployed pretty abruptly.  When this happened, I had been accepted for my first book, but I had NO face book page, NO twitter account and had NO idea how to market myself on either.  Social networking was a term I had heard on television.  Man, did I have to learn fast.  It was suggested to me by the marketing guru at my romance publisher that I had to get over my fears or I was dead in the water.  So, I took a deep breath and waded in.  I think I've done pretty well.

Cut to two months later.  I now have one book out and two others being released with two different publishers.  One I have the cover for, one is in edit.  Additionally, I am editing the sequel for the first release to submit to my romance publisher in a week or two, making my fourth novel.  I am about to submit a series of short stories to a new short story e-zine.  I am active on facebook with a personal page and a fan page, and I have a Twitter account with followers on all.  I am also an admin on a facebook group with an active membership.  Not bad, right?  What, you may ask, does this have to do with employment?  Well, therein lies the rub.

I contend that one of the first things a prospective employer does is data-mine and google you after the interview.  And now, with my being uber-present on the web, I am seriously google-able.  I wonder if that internet-footprint does anything to hinder my employ-ability?  I have a question: On the applications, where they ask you your hobbies, do I put that I am a published author?  Does this enhance or detract from my attractiveness as a candidate?

There are two schools of thought here.  As an employer, I could go both ways.  I could think that the ability to put words together and sell them would increase the candidate's ability to communicate effectively in office presentations and with all levels of staff.  I could also think that the extracurricular hobby might intrude on the candidate's daily activities and eventually overshadow the daily priorities.  I worry that if I make protestations in the actual interview, it would be a case of "Me thinks he doth protest too much" and if I don't say anything, its a case of "deception by omission."

So, I open to floor to my readers.  If anyone of you are employers, and have the occasion to make hiring decisions, I would appreciate your opinion.  I have had two excellent interviews in the past few days and I am anticipating at least one call-back where I want to be amazing.  Even though you all know I only write at night after the kids are asleep, please weigh in on this topic.  I rarely ask for input, but this one is important.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Samantha,
    I found your page and in-turn your blog through Joseph Eastwood's fan page. I found this blog interesting and felt compelled to respond. I am in the accounting business right now; I am an aspiring author but I've worked for my families CPA firm for as long as I've been in the workforce. I only mention this because I've been involved in the interview, hiring, and firing process so I have some experience on what employers are normally looking for. Also, the purpose of our company is to help local businesses so I deal with a lot of business owners.
    With all that said. I think it really depends on what positions you are applying for. If it is something in the writing world then the knowledge of your achievements as a writer will actually enhance your credibility and the likelihood of your employment. I’m not sure what your employment history is like so it’s difficult for me to say how other prospective employers would respond. The main thing to keep in mind is that employers are looking for reliable and dedicated employees. If you can somehow work your writing into those attributes you shouldn’t have any problems. Hope this helps and if you want to tell me more specifics to get a better response feel free to do so. My Facebook page is Sofia Day’s Pen and my website is www.sofiadayspen.com. Good luck to you!
    Daisy (AKA Sofia Day)