What kind of public presence does a person have, may very well determine just how much sought after this person may be in the near term and beyond. The landscape of job and opportunity hunting is rapidly changing.
Dan Schawbel wrote a thought-provoking piece in Forbes in Feb 2011, on why a person's online presence will replace the resume in a decade. IMHO, the escalation of the social media phenomenon means that this projection might happen much sooner, if not already.
When we seek out potential candidates for our work, or on behalf of clients, one of the things we always look beyond is the resume of those candidates. We tend to seek out their social media presence, and discern what kind of personality and attributes such a person might have, obvious or otherwise.
There will be some candidates with little social media presence or none at all, and those will tend to be more difficult to discern for practitioners, especially for roles that would involve communication in a social context, since there will already be a large pool of potential candidates to look at given a time constraint.
And from others, we can determine what kind of social presence, what kind of contextual knowledge, what kind of personal interest, what kind of social interaction skills, how genuine and personal the social interaction, and so on. These and many other areas are how many practitioners like us, discern what kind of potential candidates we are looking at. After all that preliminary work, there may be profiling, practical tests, and background checks, before a shortlist of candidates is found.
So for jobseekers who desire to build a long-term career, it is important, especially today, to begin to build up a social media presence that is not merely a report of personal and social meetings, but perhaps expand and extend one's knowledge, slowly and steadily, as one progresses through studies and work. In a world where more and more opportunities are contract-based and even "intrapreneurial", there is a need to show independent, clear, intelligent, mellow, and expansive thinking through published works. It won't be easy - it takes patience, consistency, tenacity, all attributes also desired in candidates.
When I finished my doctoral programs in business administration and later theology, one of the constant thoughts that resonated in my head was what many academics said often, "publish or perish". I took that admonition seriously.
In business, it is the exact same thing. it is no longer sufficient to hide a body of knowledge to ourselves and only use it when engaged. Prospects and clients might need to see a public display of content and knowledge, and even wisdom, that we as practitioners show in the public space.
So, as business and communication leaders, we too, must continue to publish as much as possible, through any useful social media or web platforms, that can be propagated to as many people as we can, to share our knowledge, to alert others of potential pitfalls in running a business, to build on what all of us know so expand our knowledge in quantum leaps.
Thoughts are only fleeting ideas, unless we solidify them on a concrete platform, whether it be ink and paper, or digital bits that are stored on a storage medium. And such ideas even when solidified, become only truly compelling and useful when we share them, discuss them, and then refine them into something truly executable, repeatable, and useful to others.