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How Have Social Media Sites Changed the Job Hunt?

Social media is changing the landscape of how people relate to each other. Before the advent of keeping track of people online, it was harder to maintain an extended network. Now, it’s possible to catalog all the people you’ve known through previous jobs – and to keep in touch with them as well, which is amazing when you think about it. This has had numerous impacts on the workplace, and how people get jobs.

In the early days of the internet, people would search job boards. Remember when Monster.com and Yahoo!Jobs were touted as the hot new thing? I remember telling my clients to go to them to look for job openings. Those job boards were also huge for the recruitment industry. Here was a (relatively) cheap way to reach thousands of people across the whole world with news about your job opening. While still extensively used, job boards seem to have fallen to the baseline, with the exception of a few good ones. They require little to no personal interaction to apply for a job. On the recruiter’s side, they often have to deal with spam bots which send out limitless replies to job advertisements. Not as bad as spam bots, but still very annoying, are people who apply on every job on the board, regardless of how qualified they actually are for the job. The entry-level recruiter who spends their day sifting through hundreds of applicants for an administrative assistant’s job is practically tearing their hair out.

Now, a lot of recruiters are on Facebook, and there are some people who exclusively advertise job openings they’re working to their Facebook friends. This is helpful, because friends can direct their friends to connect with recruiters – and people that are recommended for a job are much more likely to get it than a random faceless applicant.

Twitter is another way that job news is getting out. Becoming a part of the Twitter community or subscribing to a Twitter feed is an easy way to get information on a job – even if it’s only 140 characters. A job title and a few keywords are often enough information for a job seeker to determine if they’re interested in an opening.

LinkedIn (my favorite!), which is a site dedicated to professionals looking to maintain their personal business network, is also another place that has exploded with opportunities. At first, LinkedIn was just a way to keep track of people – now, you can post pictures, what you’re up to, and complete an entire professional profile. You can even upload your resume and indicate how open you are to finding new opportunities.

At first, people created groups for job-seekers. Then, recruiters made groups through which they would post openings. Groups such as, “Jobs for Software Developers” attracted only the niche market they were going after – people who were looking for software development jobs, and friends of people who might be interested. LinkedIn capitalized on this phenomenon by creating a job board integrated with their website. Now, people can pay for a job ad, and have their links recommend their friends for a job.

If you have been avoiding social networking, maybe now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and “be seen”.