By Janette Speyer and Alison Brown, Web Success Team
Job searches are now mostly done online and rarely do people apply in person anymore. Major job search websites such as monster.com or careerbuilder.com have less impact as social media has transitioned into becoming the front runner for online recruiting. Recruiters are now heavily relying on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to locate qualified candidates based on their skills and connections. Since about half of the US population is active in social media, it makes sense that they would be used not only for personal uses, but also for professional ones as well.
Using LinkedIn for Job Searches
LinkedIn’s focus is on people’s professional lives. It’s a great networking site for individuals who want to connect with or learn about companies that they’re interested in working for. You can gain insight into company culture, or cultivate connections with people at prospective companies. If you’re in sales and are going to have an important meeting with an executive, you can look them up on LinkedIn and see what their work history is, see what their interests are, and come up with some ways to connect with them at your meeting so you can increase your chances of a sale.
Additionally, you can receive recommendations from colleagues or bosses for various positions you’ve held so that recruiters or potential hiring managers can see that you’re reliable and good at what you do. Just by filling out your profile, you can list work experience, volunteer experience, and professional writing samples, which basically becomes an online resume that is searchable by thousands of recruiters. Recruiters also use the website to look for qualified candidates that meet specific skill sets, so it’s best that you try to be as detailed as possible when filling out your profile.
Using Facebook for Job Searches
While Facebook is the largest social network, it’s primarily for personal use rather than professional networking. It’s for catching up with friends and sharing information about topics that relate to your personal life or interests, such as your visit to Napa over the weekend or an article you read about. Though despite the fact that Facebook is currently focused on personal use, recruiters and head hunters have their eyes set on using Facebook for recruiting talented candidates.
Facebook has actually come up with a couple new applications recently that help cultivate job opportunities through the site. Smart lists and the timeline feature are both geared towards professional connections. The smart lists application allows you to auto-group friends based on your work history. It’s sort of like LinkedIn’s “connections” feature that allows you to see how you are connected to certain individuals based on your past. As for the timeline feature, it has yet to be rolled out to the public, but it allows users to see their work history in the form of an “infographic” that is basically a visual graphic display of your resume. Given the average amount of time a person spends on Facebook, as well as the level of engagement, it is only a matter of time before it starts becoming a real player in the job search world as more applications are developed for this purpose.
To Use Facebook or LinkedIn? And the Winner Is…
Facebook and LinkedIn both have their benefits as well as their drawbacks when it comes to looking for jobs. Facebook has more active users than LinkedIn, but its focus isn’t on professional life. Even though that may be changing over the next year, LinkedIn currently still offers a more professional demeanor that doesn’t revolve around personal interests or hobbies. Facebook will only truly become a viable job search site when it becomes socially acceptable to add a recruiter as a friend on Facebook instead of LinkedIn. Until that day comes, LinkedIn will hold the title for being the most job friendly social media website on the market.
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