Technology: New Age Networking

With ever growing unemployment, many find themselves looking for a job. Whether this is your first time looking for a job in a long time or the first time looking for a job in Canada, you may find that the employment search process is much different than you may be used to.

Historically, job seekers used to look in the newspaper for job openings. Now, they post resumes, create profiles and network – all online. Because the job market is particularly competitive, it is important to make the most out of your online job search.

Many job seekers have found that proper use of social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook, can help to identify and market to hiring managers and recruiters. By properly completing your profile, seekers will be able to quickly connect with people they have gone to school with, worked with and associated with. Networking is one of the best job search tools.

Once you have joined a social networking site, you will need to set up a profile. Review your profile and make sure you can use it as your on line “Resume”.

Change it as your needs change. Ask your spouse and close contacts to review it and provide feedback. Tell them to be brutally honest! Include a photo (head shot) on your profile and make sure you pose for it in a business-like way.

Take your time when setting up your profile. The information that you put on line reflects directly on you and your qualifications.

When you become a member of a social networking site you will be able to create networks of friends and family on personal sites and colleagues and associates on business websites. Just as you have a complex connection to some of your friends, you may also have complex business connections.

But what really makes online social networks helpful is that they allow users to share their online address book – you can find people faster using your network of contacts. With an address book you are limited to only those people you know. With social networking, you don’t need to go directly to your friend to find out who their friends are. Or their friends’ friends. So, effectively, you could have a thousand contacts that could potentially lead you to 100,000 more.

Of course, your network won’t expand over night – it will take time to build up your online connections.

Use any spare time to search for old colleagues. Ask for recommendations for positions and vacancies they may know of. Let people know you are looking for work and tell them to pass the word along.

Join groups for schools you have attended, places you have worked, interests you have, professional associations you belong to and groups of individuals who may be in a position to help you network. For some groups, you may see job postings listed. “Groups” are online areas where people of similar interests connect.

Job recruiters and job seekers are often found discussing news and information in their respective industries.

Join and be active in all the relevant groups for your area of specialization. Read the discussions; comment; both answer and ask questions and follow up with the people who asked the questions. Be sure your comments are relevant to the discussion. Do not comment just to say something, be certain you add value to the topic at hand. Whatever you do make sure you have your facts straight!!

Remember to use your networks effectively. You can control and change your on line privacy settings to make personal pictures and information so that they can only be viewed by personal friends and family members. You can decide how much or how little of your profile people see.

Professional recruiters have started hunting for job candidates using social networking technology – like the kind found on the popular sites Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook. Potential employers have also been known to check these sites for character reference on applicants.

LinkedIn is a popular business social network of 8 million professionals spread across the world. LinkedIn says users include executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies. Typing keywords into a search engine, a recruiter could search the entire network to dig out high-quality candidates that they cannot find elsewhere.

Such business social networking sites also help job hunters market themselves online by setting up profiles, listing work history and specific skills.

Other great places to search for work on line are job posting sites or web boards. Canada’s most popular job board is run by Workopolis. It allows employers with vacancies to post positions; allows job seekers to apply for vacancies and provides search capabilities for recruiters to search from job seekers’ archived resumes.

There are also industry specific job boards. For example, Engineers can search engineeringcareers.ca; contractors can search constructionjobs.com; medical professionals can choose medhunters.com or healthcarejob.ca.

If you are looking for general employment opportunities, those can be sourced in other ways by type of employment or location. The Canadian government has a job site through the Service Canada at www.jobbank.gc.ca. Their jobs are sorted by the job seeker by type, region or category.

All internet recruiting, social networking and on line searches have their limits – there is often no substitute for that old fashioned networking tool – the smile.

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