Social media tools can connect with employers

Everyone is talking about social media tools like Facebook and Twitter right now.

Dear Working Wise: Everyone is talking about social media tools like Facebook and Twitter right now.

How can I use social media to help me get a job? — Like Working

Dear Like Working: A growing number of people around the world are using social media tools to connect with friends, family and potential employers.

Facebook, for example, has nearly 700 million users worldwide, including more than 16 million here in Canada.

Social media tools include professional networking websites like LinkedIn, blogs and mini-blogs like Twitter, video-sharing websites like YouTube, and online discussion forums.

What you should really be interested in, though, is that employers are using social media to learn more about you: both the good and the bad.

An employer can check out your LinkedIn profile — which is similar to a resumé — and then search Facebook and find any embarrassing photos or comments you or your friends might have posted.

Even if you do not use social media, there is a good chance you know people who do.

That means they can take a photo of you at a party, post it online and link your name with the photo for an employer to find.

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:

• Assume employers will see what you post online;

• Choose your social media friends with care — what they say and do reflects on you;

• Avoid blogs and forums about controversial topics like politics or religion. Use an alias if you can not resist participating;

• Learn how to use the privacy settings so you can keep unauthorized users out of your personal information;

• Develop boundaries between your work and personal life — use different accounts or social media tools for each;

• Have a trusted friend proofread your professional profile(s);

• Keep your professional profile(s) up to date and consistent with your resumé;

• Search the Internet for your name and clean up any undesirable content;

• Become more active in social media to create more positive information about yourself;

• Link your social media profile to the web pages of groups, teams or projects you are involved in;

• Follow and comment on professional and volunteer related blogs; and

• Use websites like YouTube to promote projects related to your work or volunteer activities and include your name in the postings if it is appropriate.

You can also use social media tools to find your next job. Alberta Employment & Immigration is piloting three social media tools that you can use to find jobs and find out about upcoming job fairs: Central Alberta Jobs (www.facebook.com/CentralAlbertaJobs), Calgary Job Feed on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CalgaryJobFeed or search for #YYCJobs) and Fort McMurray Jobs (www.facebook.com/fortmcmurrayjobs).

Good luck!

Working Wise is compiled by Charles Strachey of Alberta Employment and Immigration (charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca) for general information.