We would like to thank the higher education community for great run, but the decision has been made to wind down Higher Ed Careers Canada. It takes many hours to run every week and our core operations have shifted away from the site.

On July 19, 2016, the last job will be posted on the site. The site will be maintained for approximately one month as a reference and then the site will ‘go dark.’

If you have questions about the closure or interest in the site, please contact us by emailing kyle [at] higheredcareers.ca

The power of social media for job listings

Social media is integrated into our professional and personal lives very deeply at this point. Every social network platform has their own quirks and purposes, yet they all have common threads - the power of sharing and the browsing effect.

Pass it along

Cover of Grouped book We all have heard of something going "viral." Indeed, this gets lots of press when a cute cat or dog video garners millions of views. This is an extreme example of the power of sharing. Going viral isn't something that anyone expects a job listing to do, however. There is a more subtle but powerful effect that does have a huge impact on who sees job listings.

Paul Adams in Grouped writes about how groups of people together influence each other in big ways. Adams makes the argument that groups of users are more influential to each other than any one single influence. This is fairly easy to see in a social network like Twitter with groups of academic colleagues. For example, a job listing for a Creative Writing Professor would not be relevant to someone who works as an engineer but it would be highly relevant to other English PhDs. A retweet by one professor opens up an entirely different circle of academics. One of these academics retweets this to his grad student association and so the job listing gets exposed to even more relevant people. If this job listing gets retweeted five times, the exposure is not insignificant, especially considering the normally disperse nature of those who are qualified for academic positions.

Tools like followerwonk can quickly illustrate the effects of even a small number of shares among related people. As an example, we started with the Twitter account of a professor (referred to as Academic), from this person's followers, we selected a staff member that indicated they worked at the same institution (Staff). From the Staff member's followers we selected a student of the same institution (Student).

User Number of followers Unique Followers
Academic 610 558
Staff 836 765
Student 230 195
Mutual Relationships Common Followers
Academic / Staff 40
Academic / Student 4
Staff / Student 23
All 8

Names and institution withheld for privacy reasons. Retrieved April 23, 2014 through followerwonk.

In this example, we can see that the reach of this tweet is up to 1,593 people (unique + common followers) after only three shares. Additionally, we can see that 67 people with see the message repeated two times and 8 people will see the message repeated three times.

Browsing effect

Social media is tightly coupled to mobile web use. Often times, we use the mobile web when we are not otherwise entertained; situations like waiting or commuting. Let's call this "task free" time. The always-on nature of mobile networks and the short bursts of information or interaction on social media is a good fit for these situations. And your mobile device is always within arms reach when you don't have a task to do.

A social media feed is a passive information delivery method - a stream. Discovery is the goal, not specific seeking. So, unlike the user that may go specifically to your careers page or a job listings site, social media can deliver job listings to those who may not even be looking or have might never known about your institution.

Browsing + Sharing

Bringing the concept of sharing and browsing together is also powerful. If, while browsing, a user comes across a job that they aren't personally interested in but it sounds like something that a colleague or friend might like, a job listing becomes social currency. People share on social media because they think the people that follow them will like it. Additionally, by using specific techniques, like social media previews, a browsing user can be encouraged to engage further.

Are you squandering the power of social media?

Many job listing and careers pages sites have 4-5 social sharing buttons that enable "easy" sharing. These reduce the "friction" of sharing and we integrate these on our postings too. But social sharing buttons are only a small part of how to fully leverage social media with your job listings. Social sharing buttons rely on end users taking initiative, which is risky at best. UK.GOV added sharing buttons to their pages and studied the first ten weeks of usage. The social sharing buttons were utilized only 0.2% of the time on average and peaking at 1.8% of page views yielding a use of the social sharing buttons.

Social media usage patterns indicate that users see many more posts than they write; a full 40% of Twitter users don't post at all but actively read Twitter. Social media is mostly about consuming, not producing. Additionally, those who are on your institutional listings pages are not doing so in task free time. They are likely actively looking for a job for themselves. Staying on-task is advantageous. Sharing with their social circle is off-task.

Active sharing (e.g. having job listings posted across multiple social platforms when published) enables your job listings to have more exposure and exposure that is likely to meet the relatively narrow qualifications that many academic jobs require.

Higher Ed Careers Canada has been built for social media. We take great care in actively maintaining a social media presence exclusively for job listings with both browsing and sharing in mind. Setup an account to learn how we can help you promote your job openings via social media.