“If your LinkedIn profile looks bad, you’ve got a problem,” warned Jennifer Bedford.

Bedford and her partner Shayne Lightner, founders of Sunset Entertainment Partners (sentertain.com) an executive recruitment firm specializing in talent acquisition in the entertainment and digital media industries, spoke to a packed house of SMCLA members, guests, and social media pros at the Regus Santa Monica on Tuesday, February 18.

Shayne Lightner and Jennifer Bedford provide thoughtful insights at SMCLA's "Ask The Executive Recruiters" event.

Shayne Lightner and Jennifer Bedford provided thoughtful insights at SMCLA’s “Ask The Executive Recruiters” event.

During the Q & A, moderated by SMCLA Board of Directors member Nicole DeRuiter (@DWriteN), Bedford and Lightner discussed the challenges faced by many job seekers; offered advice on how candidates can best present themselves to prospective employers; and repeatedly warned the room that your digital persona follows you into every interview.

“If you are a viable candidate, and we are interested, I haven’t done my job if I haven’t sniffed out all your footprints,” said Bedford. “I will follow a wormhole until I’m exhausted.”

Both Bedford and Lightner agreed that LinkedIn is, far and away, the most important social tool for finding a job. The two seasoned recruiters pointed out that by the time Sunset Entertainment Partners has brought a candidate in for an interview, LinkedIn has already given them a window into  his career history and personality.

Both partners acknowledged that social media and digital content publishing are changing every industry, and people who have experience in these fields are going to be highly coveted over the next decade.

Asked what advice he would give people interested in switching careers into social media, Lightner suggested proving your worth through hard work, saying: “When people really want to make a shift, they start doing it. And they start doing it for free.”

It was another great educational experience for SMCLA members, and many stayed around after the panel to network and discuss additional issues with Lightner and Bedford.