Job hunting on online social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn

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Think back: where were you in 2002? I was in Grade 11, working a sweet job in a video store, considering my options for post-secondary education and seeing a lot of (bad) live music in local shows.

friendsterIn 2002, Jonathan Abrams launched Friendster, the first social networking website. In 2003, Myspace and LinkedIn (yes, it’s been around that long) arrived on the scene, followed by Facebook in 2004, and Twitter in 2006. Now there are nearly 150 popular sites available for you to join, many of which cater to specific interests and subcultures.

I first joined MySpace in August 2004, and during the December exam period of 2005, my housemates and I joined Facebook and most of the world seems to have followed us in the years since.

Although I deleted my MySpace account as well as my LiveJournal, I have since signed up for accounts on LinkedIn, Red Bubble, deviantART, Flickr and, most recently, Twitter. Three of those sites are primarily used for sharing photos and artwork, but otherwise I think I’m sufficiently socially linked at the moment.

But have you ever seriously thought of using some of these sites to help you find a job?

LinkedIn can be beneficial if you’re keen to work for a particular company or in a specific industry. Searching quickly, I saw job positions available at many top Canadian companies.

linkedinAlthough LinkedIn is currently under-utilized by students and graduates, many academics have been using it for some time. If you’re interested in doing post-secondary studies, check out the number of professors that use LinkedIn – perhaps you can get introduced to someone through another contact and get a foot into graduate studies that way? Tech-savvy professionals are also starting to use LinkedIn to stay on top of their networks.

Admittedly, LinkedIn functions similarly to some of the larger job-searching sites like Monster and Workopolis. But have you ever considered using Twitter? Yes, you read that right, I said Twitter. You can tweet your way to a new job.

Twitter is an interactive network that can be used through text messaging on your cell phone, or updating through computer. Users are given 140 characters to update their friends on what they are doing, similar to the “Status” function on Facebook. This doesn’t seem like anything really important, except I am leaving out one small detail: users can choose who receives their tweets. Thus, you can target your tweets for a specific readership.

If you’re looking for work, what you do is strategically post so your tweets reflect the industry you are looking at. If you have followed (added someone as a friend) people who are in the job market you’re interested in, this makes everything much easier.

tweet2For example, if you tweet is something like, “Looking for a summer marketing internship in the GTA. Does anyone know any companies who are hiring?” You may get a series of responses from people in marketing – however, your network has to include people who might be able to answer your question or you’ll just end up spamming the few people who do follow you.

Times have certainly changed since we were in high school. Employers no longer rely completely on word of mouth or print ads to display the jobs they are posting, and you should not be relying on the same methods either. It is time to start spending some of your time setting up your profiles on these key social networks.

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