Pratyusha Sen is a recent graduate and currently works in Hyderabad, India. In this article she shared with us her intake on the world of opportunities which opens up when using social media for career hunting purposes.
Social media as a means of furthering career prospects does sound appealing. After all, what is better way to reach out to prospective employees than on a personal level? But, in practical application it has not caught on much in India.
Careers are still regarded as a very sombre subject in our country. Even the most jovial person sobers up as soon as conversation veers towards jobs, career or office. The reason is that the work culture prevalent in India functions on very old-school rules. A remnant of the British raj if you will! Consequently, even though colleagues do interact socially, career matters are not discussed via social media. Such topics are best restricted to one-on-one conversations. Social media is percievied more of a fun place than a forum where employers and employees can get to know each other on a personal level.
The demarcations between the personal life and professional, in India are defined and rarely encroach
upon each other. Therefore, most professionals are reluctant to let their colleagues and bosses into
their personal sphere. Team members or peers may interact with each other on social media platforms
frequently, but even then, this interaction is permissible only after they have spent a considerable
amount of time bonding in office.
The reluctance to include office people in the social group is heightened when it comes to adding
friends in Facebook, Orkut, blogsphere etc. These sites often act as the voice of protest for most of us.
Personal opinion and individuality are two things which employers do not give much value to. In fact,
most of the old school followers frown upon any opinion which goes against their norms. The result?
Bad impression, prejudice, discrimination and many other roadblocks to having a good reputation and
career. Also, someone with radically rebellious views can be seen as a troublemaker, which is why that
person would rather portray a different personality in office and maintain originality in private. Because,
after all, rebellious views do not pay the bills The old school of thought also views the advertisement of
skills as boasting. They prefer to look at CVs, work records and qualifying degrees rather than hearing
about it all. A strange tradition, I know, but it’s in practice and there’s not much anyone can do about it!
Moreover, jobs in India are hard to get. Social media lack privacy and there’s always the fear that
the competition will benefit from information shared online. Also, a lot of people are wary of sharing
professional experiences with people they know nothing about especially whether or not they are what
they claim to be!
Of course there are always a few exceptions to the rule. As younger generations of managers take over
companies, using social media for career purposes is also catching up. Freelancers too depend a lot
on social media sites for new clients. At present, the social media site LinkedIn is quite actively used
for building credibility and contacts. The activity level on the site is low, but it is there. As years go by,
hopefully there will be a complete change in the way social media and career are pitched together. But,
as of now, the lines between the two are still very distinct.