Although Canadians rank traditional online job boards and newspaper advertisements as the most common ways to find employment, social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are likely to change that over time.
The nature of job seeking is an ever-evolving animal and according to the results of a survey sponsored by Randstad Canada, it's undeniable that technology will continue to play a prominent role in the job search process.
The survey results indicate online job boards (72 per cent) and advertisements in newspapers (55 per cent) are still the most frequent channels that Canadians use to find a job. However, younger and higher educated Canadians say they are more likely to use to use social media sites when looking for a job. However, of those that do, younger Canadians (64 per cent above average), those with a higher education (51 per cent above average) and men (22 per cent above average) are using social media in their search for job opportunities.
"While one in four Canadians are already using social media sites to find jobs, we're seeing the younger generation using the sites for job research more than ever," remarks Lauralee Guthrie, digital and social media director, Randstad Canada in Toronto. "This generation, and the ones to follow, will have grown up with technology and these tools are second nature to them for many things, including the job hunt.
"Using social media to hunt for new jobs may never fully replace more traditional forums like online job boards and advertisements in newspapers, but it will increasingly be one of the first places Canadians go when looking for new opportunities."
Treat your job search like a job
Byrne Luft, vice-president, Canadian staffing operations, Manpower, says the way that individuals hunt for work always changes due to technology and that'll only increase with time. However, some tried and true methods continue to be of equal value.
"When we talk to our candidates in terms of what's been successful for them to find work, there's a few channels that are paramount to the rest. But the key to success with any job search is to use all channels available and treat the effort itself like a job," he says. "Certainly social media is on the rise when it comes to individuals looking for work but it still doesn't account for the majority of job placements."
Luft says Manpower Canada's successful candidates cite general networking, using a staffing or executive search firm, and online job boards as the top contenders.
"The biggest benefit social media offers is an interactive conversation with potential employers when looking for work," he says. "When you have individuals with skills in high demand, they're looking for the perfect fit, and social media provides a good platform for that."
Exhaust all resources
Peter Harris, editor-in-chief, Workopolis in Toronto, says to leave no stone unturned: use every possible avenue to network and to promote yourself in a professional manner.
"The fundamentals of job searching isn't changing but the tools are. First impressions still matter but more often those are being made online through visible profiles," he says. "Be honest and provide consistent information (about yourself).
"Candidates should be on social networks and should have a LinkedIn profile and be on Twitter and Facebook. Use these tools to be presentable and relevant."
After all, recruiters use all the tools available to them: personal connections, social networks, and online job boards.
"Recruiters have a wider reach now as social media expands everyone's network a little bit but even when they do find candidates through connections or direct applications, 91 per cent of them still screen those candidates after finding them," Harris continues. "That's what you need to be aware of even if you didn't apply through a social network. Employers will still be looking for you. Hiding everything can be a disadvantage since recruiters want to get a good feel as to whether or not a candidate is a good fit for a company."
Beware of over sharing online
Randstad Canada's Guthrie echoes Harris when she says job seekers that have embraced using social tools, even on a personal-only basis, to be mindful of what they share.
"Remember that social media can make it easier for you to find out pretty much anything about a job or an employer that you're interested in," she says. "But it can also make it easier for them to find out pretty much anything -- good or bad -- about you too."
In terms of prioritizing which social tools to use in a job-hunt Manpower Canada's Luft names LinkedIn as the No. 1 social network for experienced individuals to leverage. For entry-level workers or contractors, consider Kijiji or Craigslist.
"Make sure you have a good, professional profile and ensure you're using an appropriate picture and content on your profile," he recommends. "When employers do reference checks on people, they do go to Facebook pages to check people out. It happens all the time."