I am reading a book entitled Talent Force, written by Rusty Rueff and Hank Stringer. I am just into it and I will be writing a review of it later. But one of the things they used and example early on resonated with me today. I have had a couple of meetings within the last two days with friends looking for HR jobs. Both are good but are not that proficient in the use of social media in searching for a job. So we talked about that a bit and why it is important for them to “know, really know” social media. Thinking about that as I read Talent Force it dawned on me that social media is the “new literacy” for HR.
In the book Rueff and Stringer talk about how as the economy of the U.S. progressed from an agricultural economy to what it is today. They said “Many were forced to move from their rural environments to urban industrial hubs. The ability to read and write took on new importance that it did not have on the farm. Literacy rates rose. New occupations and professions emerged.” I think we are seeing that occur today in the field of Human Resources. As the nature of communication with employees and prospective employees has changed the need to adapt to the use of social media has changed as well.
Today if you are an HR professional not well versed in social media you are “still working on the farm.” If you are a job searcher not only will you be missing opportunities you will also be found wanting in the interview process as companies look to hire “pros” who are advanced.
New jobs have been created in HR as a result of this new literacy. People have titles they never had before as the importance of social media has increased. My friend Mike Vandervort is an example. I know that if you are reading this you are already ahead of the curve and I am preaching to the choir. However, you may still not be as well versed in the use of other forms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Circle, Google +, Pinterest, etc. So I suggest you work on increasing your literacy. One book I suggested to both of my friends is Social Networking for Career Success by Miriam Salpeter. It is an excellent primer on getting started with these tools.
If you have friends who are not well versed in these tools email them this link, or if they are really antiquated print this blog post and hand it to them. Either way, work on advancing yourself and your fellow professionals and get the “new literacy for HR.”