An interview with Juan Merodio
“In order to find a job or improve our professional situation, it is absolutely important to know how to manage our digital reputation and identity”
By ALICE PODENZANA, student of the Master in Digital Journalism, at IE School of Communication
With its high unemployment rate and perseverant recession, Spain is living a difficult moment. In a scenario in which finding a job is becoming a big challenge, Social Media cover a fundamental role: more and more companies search for the online presence of their candidates, and take care of your online personal branding is a must to be hired. But, how to use these new tools in a useful way? Several books cover this subject, and one of the last ones is Trabajar con Red by Juan Merodio.
Juan is a Spanish blogger,  and one of the main experts in Digital Marketing and Social Networks. Winner of several awards, including the award for the Best Idea of the Year 2006 by Actualidad Económica and the prize Young Social Entrepreneurs by the Universidad Europea of Madrid, he always has cultivated the passion for writing. Author of several books about Marketing 2.0, he inaugurated 2013 with this new book, in which he explains how to deal with the new situation in the Spanish labor market, and provides useful tips to succeed.
Trabajar con red, published by LID Publishing, is your sixth book in few years. What have inspired you to write it?
The idea came up over a year ago by watching the complicated situation we had here in Spain about the job seeking. I saw that human resources departments were changing the way to look for new employees, but most people were still using the same traditional methods, as Internet portals or just sending their resume and waiting for a reply. So I decided to create a book to help a little bit people to have other options, and to be more visible in order to find a job they want or to improve their current professional situation.
In several interviews you defined your book as a manual rather than a simple book for reading.
When I say it is like a guide is because it is really a book to read with a computer in front of you, because I tell step by step how to manage your personal brand strategy, how to use each social network, how to manage your online profile, with the aim of create your professional brand and your online visibility to find job more easily. It is a guide that will help you to improve all these steps. It’s a book for any professional who is unemployed and wants to find a job, or who has a job and wants to improve it.
What do you think is the greatest challenge for people who get to search a job through social networks?
Today, the main difficulty is the saturation. When a company publishes a job offer, suddenly there are 600 people registered, so each user becomes almost invisible. But this difficulty can be overcome with the help of social tools. For example, I think in the use of the video resume, which here in Spain is seldom used, but it is a way to differentiate yourself. In the end, the best option is to try to differentiate yourself among all candidates, and a video curriculum is something anyone can do with a webcam or a mobile phone, transmitting to the recruiter a different original view of yourself.
So, differentiate yourself with creativity.
Right. Find creativity. For example the case of the video resume with Vine: the person who did it, she stands out from the others. This is the basis to success: creatively use the new tools we have to stand out.
“Current situation, known by all,” this is the title of the first chapter of the book. It’s true, we all know how difficult is nowadays to find a job, and is also difficult to be optimistic. But in your book you talk about the importance of what you define as Internal Positivism.
We live in a very complicated moment, where it is important to be positive. In the end, you transmit everything, and if you start with a negative mindset, you will automatically put yourself in a negative situation, in which will be more difficult for you to succeed. We always need to look ahead, see the glass half full, be optimistic, and get to work to find what we are looking for. These measures I explain in the book are medium to long term ones, but they are certainly going to help people.
In your book you focus on four specific tools: blogs, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter. What are their different uses to find job?
Linkedin is the leading social network to find job: there you have to be, with a very complete profile , and trying to be active in it. Facebook is an interesting social network but not essential in order to find job. Twitter is more and more useful because there are many companies that are turning to this social network, publishing job vacancies, and obviously if you aren’t there you could lose opportunities.
Some people prefer to have two profiles, one personal and one professional…
It may be a good choice. Anyway, I think you always have to be careful when you use social networks as personal or leisure profile, because often you upload information that the person who is evaluating you may not like, and this could condition the decision to hire you or not. I know, it’s not fair; but it is a reality ,and we must accept it as such.
The way to seek for a job is changing, and social networks are for you the “present”. In your opinion, what could be the future?
It is very difficult to know or guess how this situation will change, also because of the speed with which nowadays everything changes. But I have pretty clear that we’re going to have all these tools more and more social: I do not care if they will be FB, Twitter or Linkedin, or a new one. Things are going to be more connected with internet, and there will be more info available network about each of us, both personally and professionally. So, I think it is absolutely important to know how to work with these tools, and how to manage our digital reputation and identity. All the small footprints we leave online everyday give people a first impression about us; we have to make sure this first impression to be as real as possible.