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What you need to know for 01/21/2017

Social media presence key in job hunt

Social media presence key in job hunt

As a job seeker nowadays, you’ve got to have a social media presence.

It’s not enough that you’ve checked your resume and cover letter for misspellings, or that you never leave home without a pocketful of business cards, or that you regularly check job boards for new listings.

As a job seeker nowadays, you’ve got to have a social media presence, too.

In fact, 75 percent of human resources departments are now required to research candidates online, says May Arno, an employment counselor at the state Department of Labor, who offered a workshop in social media networking at a local career fair this week.

Having a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook page or a Twitter account can show prospective employers you’re current with technology, she said. The online platforms also give you an opportunity to showcase your professional expertise through your postings.

And since “a lot of employers don’t post” jobs these days, Arno said, networking via social media may be an important way to learn about job openings.

Some 92 percent of recruiters use social media in seeking out job candidates, and 64 percent use two or more online networks in their efforts, according to the data Arno presented.

A survey released last summer by Jobvite, a California company that offers social media recruiting tools, indicated that recruiting via LinkedIn was nearly universal, while Facebook and Twitter were gaining ground quickly.

LinkedIn, which allows professionals to post their resumes online and potentially interact with 200 million members worldwide, is the social media tool most often associated with job hunts. But Facebook, once the social darling of the college crowd, and Twitter, which offers a Web soapbox at a 140-character clip, also are being put to that use.

Jobvite found that more than half of the 1,000 recruiters and human resources officials who participated in its survey “now use Twitter for their talent search.” Two-thirds said the same of Facebook.

The growing use of those two tools underscores the importance of maintaining a professional demeanor. Arno said Facebook settings should remain private for friends; Jobvite said profanities on Twitter were frowned on by most recruiters in its survey.

Web recruiting is gaining momentum because of results, according to Jobvite. More than seven in 10 employers have been successful in using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to hire a new employee.

“We continue to see social recruiting gain popularity because it is more efficient than the days of sifting through a haystack of resumes,” said Jobvite CEO Dan Finnigan.

And that efficiency works for prospective employees, too.

In a job hunt, I may identify companies I want to work for in Boston or Washington, D.C. I can connect with them on LinkedIn and be alerted to news of their expansion or contraction; I can be a fan of their Facebook page and “like” their praiseworthy activities; I can listen to what their CEOs are saying on Twitter and perhaps catch a boss’s attention with a “retweet” or thoughtful comment.

Pre-Web, that kind of long-distance interaction was much more difficult.

But developing a social media presence takes time and effort, and it can’t be done at the expense of traditional tools like resumes and cover letters — since most companies still expect you to provide them, even when applying for jobs via a Web portal.

Judging from the hands raised, though, as Arno asked the dozen or so people who attended her workshop whether they were on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, there’s still work to be done.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Reach her at marlenejkennedy@gmail.com.

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