Dear Working Wise:
I keep hearing that I should be using social media to find a job. Do employers really use social media, and if so, do you have any tips? Signed, Unsure
Every employer and industry is different, but a growing number of organizations around the world are using social media to find skilled workers.
Jobvite's fifth-annual Social Recruiting Survey of 1,000 recruiters found that 92 per cent of American companies are using social media to hire staff.
LinkedIn remains the leading network for staff recruitment, but Twitter and Facebook are on the rise with two-thirds of organizations now using Facebook.
Many social media sites are also adjusting their services to make it easier for job seekers to search their social networks for connections at companies where they want to work.
The survey also found that more employers are checking social media sites to spot potential problems with applicants.
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC) has cautioned Alberta organizations to ensure they are not violating the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) when conducting background checks using social media. They even released a Guide For Social Media Background Checks, which is available at http://oipc.ab.ca.
Using social media for employment background checks is risky, because employers can not limit the amount or type of information that they collect. However, it would be hard to prove that an employer didn’t call you because of something they saw on your blog.
Don’t let a poor social-media profile cost you your next job opportunity. Use these tips to take control of your online identity and start using social media to your advantage:
o Search the Internet for your name and clean up any undesirable content;
o Separate your personal and professional social media lives using separate pages, groups/circles, or privacy settings;
o Choose your social media friends with care—what they say and do reflects on you;
o Avoid blogs and forums about controversial topics like politics or religion. Use an alias if you can not resist participating;
o Delete unprofessional photos/posts and replace them with things you would like your future employer to read and see.
o Create a Linked-In profile—similar to an online resumé—and start connecting with professional colleagues that you already know. Be sure your profile is consistent with your resumé. Endorse your contacts’ skills and they will likely endorse you.
o Participate—social media is about interaction. Follow professional blogs and join industry groups/circles on your social media sites and contribute opinions, interesting articles, news, trends, questions, etc. Share and re-tweet posts by others in your network to raise your profile and increase the chance that others will reciprocate;
o Link your social media profile to the web pages or YouTube channels of groups, teams or projects that you are involved in; and
o Follow your local Alberta Works social media channel to get the latest job postings and job fair news. Alberta Works operates seven jobs-focused Facebook pages around the province plus one Twitter feed in Calgary. Links to all of these social media tools are available at http://bit.ly/VrqyIs.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.