There is an adage that says, "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
Please do not apply that adage to your job search.
A job seeker who I met via Twitter some months ago recently asked me if there was such a thing as being overly eager/aggressive when using social media to look for work. After reviewing the seeker's LinkedIn profile and Twitter timeline, it was clear the seeker was frantically trying to secure the attention of someone - anyone - who could help. I advised the seeker to read this article and suggested some changes be made to the overall profile and social media search approach to give the appearance of a less frenzied contender.
Assertive vs. Desperate
I attempted to elucidate my point by using the stock analogy that recruiting is a lot like dating. In this love story, a man is decidedly uninterested in a certain woman for whatever reason.
Assertive Scenario: The woman approaches the man, gives him a compliment and her number, then walks away, leaving the next step up to him.
Desperate Scenario: The woman approaches the man, gives him a compliment and her number. Instead of exiting stage left, the woman continues to flirt overtly with the man. She mentions she is single and unattached, and still, the man does not ask her out. The woman goes further and mentions what a great girlfriend she is (and provides the man with references to her previous boyfriends). The man remains steadfast in his decision not to pursue her. She then takes it a step further and secures the man's phone number/email and reminds him of her viability as a potential girlfriend on a weekly (or even daily) basis. Is this overly eager woman suddenly going to convince the object of her desire to ask her out?
The Allure of the Casual Job Seeker
Some recruiters want to feel like they are attracting 'passive' candidates (or at least hard to find talent). A job seeker does not need to mention that they are 'available for hire' on their LinkedIn profile multiple times, tweet their resume blindly to the masses 25 times a day, or use employer's Facebook career page walls to state a case for why they are the best candidate for the advertised job(s).
If a recruiter is interested in a job seeker's background experience and skills as presented on social media, the recruiter will find a way to contact that seeker. Period. I advised the job seeker who asked this question that companies often pay me to research and uncover contact information for professionals who don't list any information on their LinkedIn/Facebook pages (or more commonly, for those who have no digital footprint at all).
Here are some indicators that you, the job seeker, may have crossed the line between proactive and desperate.
I completely empathize with long term job seekers, and understand how disheartening the job search process can be as a job seeker in 2012. You will have tough days, but keeping your game face on for the recruiters and managers you interact with during the interview process is crucial to your long term success. Feel free to vent to family and friends as often as you need to, but refrain from venting on social media and in email/phone conversations with recruiters and others in your professional network.
Recruiters: What other ways have candidates let their job search frustrations show?
For More on How to Avoid Being Perceived as a Desperate Job Seeker
Maisha Cannon is a Senior Recruiter and Researcher committed to introducing employers to talent that will enhance and grow their businesses. Over the span of her 15 year career in Human Resources, Maisha has filled over 1,000 positions, and has coached hundreds of candidates on resume writing, interviewing skills, and career planning. She spends her free time blogging, engrossed in social media, and singing along to the thousands of songs in her iPod.