Farzeen Foda

Senior News Editor

The rise of social networking not only allows you to stay updated on what happened Friday night, but it could also help you begin your career.

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are but a few of the online platforms available for job seekers to advertise themselves to employers.

McMaster’s Student Success Centre held a Social Networking and Job Search Conference on Nov. 10 and 11 at the McMaster Innovation Park. The two-day conference featured employers and Social Media experts, as well as McMaster faculty from the department of Communication Studies.

The conference explored the various aspects of Social Networking and how students can use the evolution of social networking to their benefit. For students, it’s about “building your online footprint,” said Jacqueline Hampshire, Events and Marketing Coordinator for McMaster’s Student Success Centre, explaining that building a profile on a social networking site such as LinkedIn can open new avenues for career exploration that can complement rather than replace traditional job fairs.

With a strong focus on LinkedIn as a key platform for job seekers, it was noted that employers are actively involved in posting job openings and head hunters are also vigilant in seeking talent through social media.

Companies present at the Social Networking and Job Search Conference included Walmart, GE Canada and the AIDS Network, among others.

Hampshire explained that unlike a standard resume, in which a candidate must select key things to condense into a maximum of two pages, there is no limit to the amount of information that can be included on a LinkedIn profile, making it an excellent platform to elaborate on other involvements and marketable skills.

Speakers and discussions at the conference further explored how different social media are used. Hampshire explained, for example, that after company representatives meet a potential employee, “it may not be appropriate to add that person on Facebook the next day, but to invite that person on LinkedIn would be perfectly acceptable,” explaining that unlike Facebook, LinkdIn has been established on the premise of professional networking.

Building an online image is vital in this day and age to better market skills and attract the right kind of attention from employers.

Hampshire stressed this point and encouraged students to verify their online presence. “Google your name and see what comes up. Is what comes up something you would want a potential employer to see?”

Building a professional appearance online is just as important as maintaining your image on a regular basis. Remaining active and vigilant in the social media platform is yet another avenue for students to tap into when exploring career possibilities.

 

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