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Online presence makes real life impact

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Employers are increasingly seeking looking for applicants with a strong online presence. Photo by lenniez
Employers are increasingly seeking looking for applicants with a strong online presence. Photo by lenniez

Reported by Nich Johansen

Social media is becoming a major part of the business world and an online presence may help a company advertise and make a potential employee more hireable.

Social media began as a way to connect with friends online, to share interests and to see what your connections are doing. It has since grown rapidly and has become increasingly important in the business world.

Your friends say a lot about you

“A lot more companies are expecting you to bring your own social media contacts into jobs,” Rochelle Grayson, who teaches social media strategies at Langara, said.

“Part of that is just [showing] expertise … a little bit of depth in certain areas or topics really helps when you go for a job interview.”

Employers are looking for personality

Social media allows employers to see a broader picture of a potential employee, beyond just their work experience.

“Employers are looking more for a holistic, ‘who are you?’ not just what you have accomplished.” Grayson said.

Chris Yeh is the talent development specialist at Clio, a legal management software company.

Rather than using social media to look at potential hires, he uses it to show people Clio’s work environment.

Online media savvy applicants stand out

Yeh said the company uses websites such as Twitter and Instagram to communicate what it’s like to work at the company, rather than simply using them as a job board.

When it comes to prospective employees, social media “communicates to us that you can pick up some of the newer technologies,” Yeh said. “But it’s not imperative that you have a Twitter profile.”

Professional online presence gets you rehired

For Vanessa Leigh, publisher and founder of Vancouver based Ion Magazine, social media is used in the day-to-day running of things rather than in the hiring process.

“For my core staff it’s basically part of the deal that they have to interact with everything Ion is doing,” Leigh said. “Post on their Facebook page, tweet it out there and get the word out.”

For her freelance writers, social media interaction can be a deciding factor on who gets rehired.

“I certainly appreciate when our contributors are very socially active,” she said. “We’re more inclined to go back and use somebody that is interacting with the magazine.”

Building a social media presence early is vital

According to Grayson,“Getting your social media profile started your first year [of university] is something you should do,” she said. “By the time you get to year three or four and you’re looking for the job, it’s almost too late.”

And Grayson doesn’t think this is changing, “I see social media as a critical piece of the hiring process going forward.”

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