When online social networking became hugely popular in Canada a few years ago, people were looking to connect socially. Today, an ever-growing number of social networkers are looking for career connections. Monster, CareerBuilder, Jobboom, Indeed, and Craigslist have all been valuable tools for Canadian job seekers and recruiters alike. But now, generation X, Y, and Baby Boomers are all using sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter to find new jobs.
And that’s not all. Employers are there too. According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder, 28% of Canadian employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, and 14% of employers report having been positively influenced by their research on social networking sites, citing confirmation of a candidate’s professional qualifications.
Facebook is still the Leader
Facebook is in the lead in terms of Canadian employers who use social networking sites to conduct background checks on candidates, at a whopping 52%, a much higher proportion than in the U.S. (29%). Next up is LinkedIn (39%), followed by personal blogs (25%), MySpace (23%), and Twitter (11%).
The employers are obviously following the trail of job candidates, as these sites are in identical order of how job seekers use them.
Almost 2 million Canadians are using LinkedIn. Out of all the networking sites, LinkedIn may have the greatest potential in growing your professional career and creating a personal brand. Recruiters and hiring agencies spend hours scouring through relevant profiles of job seekers, asking them to connect or asking for an introduction when they want to further a relationship. LinkedIn can help you find a job or connect you with people who can assist you with growing your career. You can also get and ask for recommendations from past and present co-workers or employers. And recruiters are paying attention to those.
MySpace still in the game
Younger generation Canadians were early adopters of MySpace, and research suggests they are now using it to search for, and find, new jobs, especially after graduating. Whereas LinkedIn is seen more as a professional, management, and business-to-business connection site, many MySpace members are still in school or just entering the workforce.
Lagging behind is everyone’s new favourite site, Twitter. The 140 character message Tweet is all the rage, as companies and experienced professionals look to create interest in themselves, their company, or their industry. Some companies are using it as a form of customer service, especially when things go wrong. Although still in its infancy in Canada, online media experts believe Twitter will enable job seekers and employers to connect in a quick, fun way. Job seekers are also using Twitter to research the companies they will be applying to, not only to get updates on what the company is doing, but to get an idea if the company would be a good fit with their own personality and career goals.
Boomers in on the act
Baby Boomers are raising the age of retirement. Whereas many years ago it was customary to retire at 65, boomers want to hear nothing of it. The majority of Canadians entering their 60s believe that social media will allow them to stay connected – to their workplace, industry, peers, and, most importantly, to potential opportunities, like speaking engagements, consulting work, or jobs that can be done via telecommuting. In fact, according to Delvina Interactive, an online data collection firm, 37% of Canadians 65 and over have visited Facebook in the past month.
Social media job searching tips:
If you don’t have a great resume and/or cover letter, all the social networking and connections you make will not help. But if your resume contains the right keywords, job titles and functions, qualifications, and affiliations, social networking is a great way to supplement your resume and vault you into top positions in a competitive job market.
Here’s some advice for job seekers using social networking sites:
- Be consistent: ensure that the employment history on your resume matches what’s on your profiles. If your jobs titles, dates, or companies do not match, that is a red flag for employers.
- Employers are reading your info and looking at pictures on your Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace pages. If your privacy status is set to public, make sure that it is professional. Some photos can be a little risqué for employers.
- Network before you need to: start building your network in advance of when you need it. Make quality connections in your industry and career field, research industry buzz words, join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and connect with hiring agencies.
- Resume: It doesn’t matter how often your resume or profile shows up if there are typos or grammatical errors. The resume is the most important tool in your job search.
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