How Job Seekers Are Using Social Networks to Find Work

Whether you're hiring or looking for work yourself, a new survey shows you can't afford to ignore social media.
Personal Branding Expert, Millennial Branding
December 04, 2012

By now, most people are aware that what they put on their social profiles can have a negative impact on their career. That is to say, a compromising Facebook photo is probably going to land you in some hot water with a potential employer.

According to Jobvite, 86 percent of recruiters are likely to look at social profiles for a candidate, and 48 percent report that they always do so. More often, however, job seekers are beginning to realize that social networking can do more than prevent an employer from hiring them. If done correctly, it can be used as a means to find work.

Social Media as a Job Search Tool

Recently, Jobvite released its 2012 Social Job Seeker Survey, which showed an increase in social network use by job seekers. Not surprisingly, job seekers were found to be more active on social networks than the overall workforce, with 88 percent having at least one profile, and 44 percent using at least three or more different social platforms. Interestingly, a whopping 75 percent of the American workforce is either actively seeking or open to new jobs, up from 69 percent in 2011. In my estimation, there are a couple of reasons to explain why this figure is so high.

As social networks continue to become used as more viable recruiting tools, employees (whether they're actively looking or not) are bound to come across far more job opportunities in their day-to-day use of these networks. They're also more likely to see when their social connections switch organizations, or receive promotions, which will motivate them to push for greater career growth.

Job-Hopping Phenomenon

The other major factor in why employees are willing to consider alternative opportunities (even if they're satisfied at their organizations) is the paradigm shift in the younger generation of the workforce. Today, new employees are staying with their companies for, on average, less than two years, meaning that by the time they become comfortable with their role, they're beginning to start the process of jumping on the next lily pad. Meanwhile, the lagging economy has led 41 percent of respondents to report they are overqualified for the jobs they do have.

It’s clear that in today’s ultra-connected world, it's extremely difficult (if not impossible) to maintain a separate professional and personal online presence. Social networks that are traditionally reserved for more personal interaction, such as Facebook, are being viewed as part of a professional personality, and people are starting to recognize that connection. According to the study, 25 percent of users updated their Facebook profile with professional information, up from only 20 percent a year ago. Of course, LinkedIn is a network that's focused more heavily on a person’s professional personality, and in many ways, it's becoming more than just an online resume. In the survey, 41 percent of the workforce reported having a LinkedIn account, compared to only 32 percent in 2011.

The social networks themselves are also noticing the immense potential that the job market presents to them, and Facebook recently announced that it will be introducing a job board application to its platform, which will aggregate 1.7 million job openings from a number of recruiting site partners. It will be interesting to see how the other social networks, especially LinkedIn, handle the competition that Facebook is guaranteed to bring into the online recruiting sector. Regardless, as social networks become more accessible job boards, it's sure to be beneficial for recruiters and job seekers alike.

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