By Susan P. Joyce
Social media and social networking are the rage right now, in business and in private life. We humans like to connect with each other, and we have just discovered a wonderful venue emerging for us to use. Naturally, as with anything social, job search is a large portion of what is happening.
Social media has become a fast and cheap "background check" that is often done before inviting a job applicant in for an interview. Employers search social media to verify the facts on resumes, to check out knowledge and attitudes expressed publicly (careful!), and evaluate communications skills.
Employers also use social media to find qualified applicants, often a faster and cheaper method of identifying good job candidates than posting a job.
LinkedIn, described below, is the number one social network for job search. If you have time for only one social network for your job search, LinkedIn is the one you should use.
[MORE: Guide to LinkedIn for Job Search.]
Social networks have become critical to your job search, as the graph below illustrates, because it is increasingly being used by recruiters.
Employers and recruiters are using social media more while using job boards less, a trend that began before 2008 (LinkedIn had its 10th birthday in 2013!).
As time has passed, LinkedIn has continued to dominate social networks used for recruiting. While Facebook is very popular generally, it is less popular for finding job seekers, although it is used often to promote an employer as a great place to work.
In mid-2013, Jobvite.com asked over 800 employers if they were using or planning to use social media for their recruiting, and this is the result - 94% of employers said they were!
Social media is used in a number of ways. It helps recruiters have a more clear idea of who you are and what you have done before they even talk with you. They also pick up clues about your personality and how you might fit into their corporate culture.
In your use of social media, employers and recruiters can see or have an indication of:
Social media is at the intersection of technology and human interaction. We are gradually shifting to websites which offer the opportunity for greater human interaction. We leave comments and share information.
In general, the major social media associated with job search are:
The professional's social network, LinkedIn is the network preferred by most employers. LinkedIn is a large professional network where members connect with each other, participate in Groups, connect, and interact with each other. Linkedin has over 260 million members (early 2014), and is widely viewed as the most business-like and professional of the social networks. See Guide to LinkedIn for Job Search for help leveraging LinkedIn, and join the Job-Hunt Help LinkedIn Group for help with your job search in LinkedIn.
The largest social network, Facebook is a social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college. With over 1.2 billion members worldwide (early 2014), Facebook is the largest social network but it has a long history of issues with member privacy (or lack thereof). See Guide to Facebook for Job Search for more information on using Facebook for your job search.
Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Twitter has 235 million members (early 2014). See Guide to Twitter for Job Search for help leveraging Twitter.
Google+ (also known as "Google Plus" and "G+") was launched by Google in early 2011 and claimed over 540 million members by the middle of 2013. Google+ strengthens the impact of the original Google Profiles and includes "Circles" (private, user-defined groups of contacts), "Hangouts" (free user-created video chats), "Communities" (social groups), and other social functions. See Guide to Google Plus for Job Search for help with G+.
According to the wikipedia, blogs "are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. "
Many other smaller sites comprise social media, but these are the most popular currently. Who knows what the future will bring. For help leveraging social media and the social networks for your job search, read these articles in our Social Media Center
If you have any questions or anything you want us to cover, send an email to questions at Job-Hunt.org.
And good luck with your job search!
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.