By Shawn McGowan, JobsInME.com
Do you know your Klout score? If you're applying for a marketing position or any job where online networking aptitude is required, you may want to read this. Klout can make or break your chances of getting hired, especially if the recruiter or hiring manager believes this rating system is an accurate portrayal of the skill set they seek. The question then becomes: would you want to work for that company? Let me explain.
What Is Klout?
Klout is an online service that attempts to determine your level of online influence by measuring activity across your social media profiles and assigning a score between 1 and 100, based on the ongoing results. The more people engaged in what you have to say (Klout calls this "true reach"), the more people share and retweet your content ("amplification"), the more influential followers and friends you have ("network"), the higher your Klout score will be.
Does It Mean Anything?
It's tough to say. It's built on real numbers gathered from account activity, follower and friend counts, shares/retweets, etc. But, the jury's out as to whether or not someone's influence can truly be measured by these metrics alone. Klout's algorithm and subsequent definition of "influence" has never been shared or fully explained. At best, it's a snapshot of how active you are on social media and how receptive your communities are to what you have to offer. At worst, it's an unverified classification of your importance in your online communities and an inaccurate insight into how you will fit into an organization.
Why Should You Care?
You should care if:
- You're trying to gain visibility and make connections in your field for your career or your job search. It can give you a point of reference and show progress or lack thereof when you need feedback. For example, increasing frequency of posts to promote your new blog would increase your Klout score. So, setting a target score beforehand and monitoring the results could prove useful.
- You're applying for jobs in the realm of social media, if only because many companies will be looking for an easy indicator of how well the candidate understands the medium and how active/well-connected they are in that space. Some social media jobs have even listed a minimum Klout score as a desired skill!
- The company you're applying to is active on their social media channels and expects their employees to be as well. If you see a long line-up of everyone that works for the company in the company's LinkedIn profile and lots of highly visible chatter from employees on Twitter and blogs, you might want to peek at their Klout scores and compare.
My Two Cents
It's my own opinion that smaller networks consisting of well-known connections are better than a Klout-raising horde of acquaintances you don't know beyond a cocktail party handshake. Activity for the sake of boosting an arbitrary score is not meaningful. And, if you lose a job because your Klout score wasn't high enough, then what other unrealistic, undefined expectations did they have in store for you?
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As a Social Media Marketing Coordinator, Shawn McGowan's passion for brand transparency and over 10 years of sales/customer service experience make him aptly suited for the job. A native of East Millinocket, Maine, Shawn grew up at the foot of Mount Katahdin and graduated from the University of Maine Presque Isle with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). When not writing, editing or immersing himself in the world of social media, he can be found enjoying the outdoors, art, music, tech, humor, Portland's amazing food scene, and all things nerdy. You can reach Shawn at smcgowan (at) JobsInME.com and Twitter.com/shonymac.