We have all heard the horror stories regarding the crazy stuff that people publish online — especially in social media — and how it can hurt their job prospects. From images of senseless and/or illegal acts to foul tweets and vulgar status updates, social media is a dangerous place to blow off steam.
That said, not every employer is on the prowl, looking for you to screw up. Some use social media for other reasons.
“We’re looking for ‘less fear’ when it comes to neck exposure,” said Mark Robertson, the founder and managing partner at Manifest Investing, a research-based organization centered on education. Robertson told StreetID that he does not use Twitter or Facebook “in a negative sense at all.”
“As an example, while serving as a recruiter in a previous life, we would actually give a nod to a student with a slightly compromised GPA if their resume included bartender, racquet ball, etc.,” Robertson explained. “Straight ‘A’ students with little extracurricular activity were actually subjected to a much more rigorous evaluation. The young person who decided to see what it might be like to raise a couple of pigs or explore if they really could walk from Mexico to Canada across a few mountain tops received preferential treatment.”
When it comes to finding gainful employment, Robertson recommends that job seekers read, identify successful investors (“We profile and explore performance excellence at Manifest Investing,” he said), read some more, be willing to fail, and read again.
“Don’t embellish your resume if you’re applying at Yahoo! Finance,” Robertson joked, poking fun at the company’s former CEO, Scott Thompson, who lied about having a degree in computer science.
However, you should “seek and discover achievers who appear to love what they’re doing,” said Robertson. “Reach out to them.”
But don’t go too crazy with your resume. “Keep it simple,” Robertson advised. “For what it’s worth, outside of watching for bartenders and future pig farmers, the truth is that we never paid much attention to the resume when it really comes down to it.”
“It’s not about a piece of paper,” Robertson added. “It’s about discovering something that you love to do and reaching out for that opportunity. Be genuine about the potential.”
“Be bold,” Robertson insisted. “One of my favorite experiences was the time I was rejected after an interview with a major engineering and consulting company. I graciously and diplomatically followed up with a letter advising them that they’d made a mistake. They retracted the decision and offered me the job!”
No matter what happens, Robertson said that you should never underestimate what is possible. “At the tender age of 26, I worked for an awesome manager who sent me on a ‘practice interview’ for a general manager/plant superintendent job as a growth experience. He didn’t want to lose me. What I remember most about him was that he kept every single promise he made to me – all the way back to the interview as a college graduate. Practice interview? They offered me the job!”
Robertson said that one of the constants in American heritage is that “generations underestimate successor generations.”
“It’s not different this time,” he said. “In our work with MBA and finance students (and for that matter, every other conceivable vocation), we continue to be staggered by the pervasive bright eyes and innovation potential.”
Manifest Investing isn’t hiring at this time. However, Robertson said that the company has “some irons in the fire that have the potential to create a number of fund analyst (we extrapolate all fund research from stocks) positions and qualified plan coaching/consulting situations.”
When hiring, Robertson said that he likes to follow Bill Hybel’s urging to focus on Character, Competence and Chemistry. “Get the first one right and the others often follow,” said Robertson. “Competence often centers on personal preparation and commitment. You can’t fake it.”
“And in the spirit of Money Ball,” Robertson added with a smile, “sometimes character combines with chemistry to provide the only means capable of bringing the New York Yankees to their knees.”
“There’s an immense field of opportunity to make a real-and-present difference in the lives of so many,” Robertson concluded. “Long-term investing is not widely understood and the potential is even less comprehensible, so there’s much to be done. At Manifest Investing, we are making a difference and we’ll continue to make differences – in ways that we’ve not yet even imagined.”
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