Q. I read a lot about the importance of having a professional social media presence. This makes sense if you are in marketing or PR, but I can't imagine any reason why a social profile would be of any use in, say, science and academic positions.
A. Regardless of the field, a professional social media presence shows a dedication to your "craft." It is also a clear way for potential employers to see how you interact with others. On the plus side for candidates, it means that potential employers will get to see your ideas, approach and philosophy – something that many people think is missing from the current hiring landscape.
Let’s say you are an Applications Developer. Showing that you are an active part of the on-line development community would likely be very appealing to a potential employer. Your activity in, say, development-focused LinkedIn groups would show a commitment to professional growth, in addition to showing that you can effectively communicate with peers and colleagues.
Like networking in general, maintaining a professional social media presence should be part of an ongoing career development strategy. When done thoughtfully, the payoff can be great.