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Job searching through social media

By Aaron Stauch

This is the first of a series of columns to offer job search tips and advice written by Lutherwood staff. Lutherwood is a local agency that offers employment support as well as a range of other services which are accessed by more than 20,000 people annually in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

Do you use Facebook or Twitter to keep up with your friends?

These same tools can help you find your next job. Recent research indicates more than 85 per cent of companies are planning to use social media to find or screen candidates within the next year.

So, what do you need to do to be prepared?

First, make sure your online presence is a good representation of you. Many employers search online for information on potential hires before they make an offer.

When they Google your name, what will they find? Make sure you search your name regularly.

If you see something that reflects poorly on you, take it down or be ready to respond to questions from an interviewer.

Whenever you post to social media sites, make sure the language and content are appropriate for prospective employers to view.

Second, develop your online presence. For example, consider setting up a LinkedIn account and establishing your online resume and networks, create a professional blog and discuss relevant industry trends, and tweet about industry news.

Connect with companies you are interested in through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and then use these connections to find out who can help you get informational interviews, or connect you with the employer of a job that interests you.

Even when you land your job, watch what you post online.

Today’s employers monitor social media and inappropriate posts may be grounds for dismissal.

Think of your posts as worldwide broadcasts, even if you have locked down your privacy settings.

Remarks about clients, co-workers and your organization may well make it back to the workplace. And if you take a sick day, watch what you say online about your activities.

You might be surprised to discover that you have common friends with your boss or that a co-worker has forwarded your postings.

In today’s competitive marketplace, connections are a key part of job searching and social media offers excellent opportunities to help you land your next job.

Your local employment service provider can offer you other helpful job searching advice.

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Aaron Stauch is a social media user and program manager at Lutherwood. He will be sharing more social media job search tips at Lutherwood’s Employment Speakers Series later this month.  For more information, visit: www.lutherwood.ca/needajob.

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