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The Builders Issue

Words: Linda Hoang
Images: Andy Oviatt

This Web Exclusive was featured in Volume 7, Issue 1 of techlife magazine.

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How to use social media in your job hunt

Twesumes? Twitterviews?

These terms may sound strange but they're part of the changing job-search landscape. Tweeting 140-character blurbs, updating your LinkedIn profile and ensuring Facebook photos are private are becoming effective ways to help land a job. According to a 2012 Jobvite survey, 89 per cent of recruiters say they have made a hire through LinkedIn, while 86 per cent of recruiters say they are likely to look at social media profiles.

"Make sure you're there in the space and putting out some really good news about who you are," says JR Shaw School of Business instructor Ray Bilodeau, who teaches a social media marketing class that has helped a number of students gain job leads, interviews and even careers through social media. "Be discoverable."

We've got tips on how to do that when it comes to three major social media platforms.

Twitter

  • Ensure your bio and profile picture are professional and appropriate for the industry you're interested in. A profile picture in your bathing suit probably isn't suitable if you're applying for an office job.
  • Include a link to your website, blog or LinkedIn profile in your bio.
  • Demonstrate that you're a subject-matter expert," Bilodeau says. Show you're interested in what's happening in the industry by following and tweeting other subject-matter experts and sharing their content, as well as links to industry-related articles.
  • Build a network with people in your city. For example, follow the #yeg hashtag to see what's happening in Edmonton and find people to follow and foster connections with.
  • Follow companies and employees of companies you want to work for. "Tweet to them, show you're interested in their company," says NAIT Bachelor of Business Administration student Jacqueline Wong, who landed a phone interview with RBC after catching their attention through her blog and Twitter. "I'm sure a lot of people tweet to certain companies so if you ask something different, hopefully they'll tweet back." Wong first tweeted links to her blog to RBC and never got a response. When she took a different approach and asked whether their executives were on Twitter, she received a response.
  • Have a bad day? Keep it to yourself. Since posts can be retweeted and seen by thousands, public complaints "can be an impediment to your success," Bilodeau says.

LinkedIn

  • Make sure your experience is aligned with what industry is looking for," Bilodeau says. Fill out the Background, Experience and Skills & Expertise sections and tailor descriptions to the industry you're interested in.
  • Update your profile regularly. New updates appear in the LinkedIn feeds of those you're connected with, so updating your profile keeps you top of mind with potential employers.
  • Keep your connections professional. "You don't want all your contacts to be friends. You want to be contacting people who can help further your career," says NAIT Bachelor of Business Administration student Melissa Zimmer, who was hired after applying for a summer job she discovered through LinkedIn.
  • Join industry-related groups and watch for job postings from those groups.
  • Endorse others for their skills and ask for recommendations.

Facebook

  • Lean towards Twitter and LinkedIn for job leads. Be aware of what material from Facebook may be publicly searchable because this could affect how hirable you are.
  • Stay on top of Facebook privacy settings. "Lock them down," Bilodeau says. "Make it as private as possible." Keep content clean because even privacy settings don't guarantee something can't be taken and shared publicly.
  • Like the Facebook pages of companies you're interested in to get the most up-to-date information and then mention it during interviews.