Figuring out which social networking site is the best for your job search is like trying to decipher a riddle with a constantly changing answer.
When Google+ was introduced, many expected the site to rival Facebook and LinkedIn when it came to its job-hunting potential. But recent data show that the social networking site hasn’t lived up to all the hype. Google+ users only spend mere minutes on the site each month, compared to almost eight hours a month on Facebook, comScore reported last week.
And now, an increasing number of people are using Pinterest, the latest social-networking darling; and some are even posting graphic-intensive resumes in an effort to impress employers. The number of unique visitors to the site jumped 56 percent since December, according to comScore, to nearly 12 million.
All this social media ballyhoo has many wondering which site will help them land the job of their dreams.
Once upon a time, career experts pointed to LinkedIn as the only site workers had to be on, but now that’s changing. “More playful sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Quora, and even Pinterest are turning out to be valuable tools for job-hunters, too,” wrote George Anders, author of “The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else," in a Harvard Business Review post last week.
If the alphabet soup of social media choices has you wanting to shun them all, think again. Employers are increasingly using social media to connect with applicants. The most recent data show 56 percent of the organizations currently use social networking websites when recruiting for potential jobs, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which surveyed nearly 550 HR professionals via email last year. That’s up from 34 percent in 2008, the last time the survey was conducted.
Where recruiters are going to find you out in cyber space, however, is a moving target.
Among the employers SHRM polled there are three top choices:
- 95 percent use LinkedIn.
- 58 percent use Facebook.
- 42 percent use Twitter.
But a survey put out last month by The Creative Group, an interactive advertising company, of advertising and marketing executives found that if they had to pick one social networking, 56 percent would choose Facebook, followed by LinkedIn and Google+.
Facebook is beginning to give career stalwart LinkedIn some competition by offering more recruiting tools for hiring managers and job seekers, including apps such as BranchOut and BeKnown.
Both options are luring more recruiters to Facebook as a result, said Curtis Midkiff, SHRM’s director of social strategy and engagement. “It’s catching on but not competing quite yet,” he noted.
In the end, he stressed, your social networking choice should be tied to the type of job you’re looking for. LinkedIn, he said, is the “suit-and-tie network,” and people looking for professional jobs in traditional industries are probably making a good call to be on there.
For positions in healthcare or manufacturing, and generally more blue-collar jobs, Facebook is gaining interest from recruiters as a way to find applicants. The site is also gaining popularity with employers looking to fill seasonal jobs, such as UPS looking for holiday drivers, Midkiff explained.
UPS’s Jobs Facebook page often includes posts about job openings, and the page now has more than 36,000 likes. A post from earlier this year stated: “UPS is hiring Sales professionals!” The post included 70 comments and a company official even answered questions of Facebook users interested in a sales job; a big difference from the black hole so many job seekers face when they apply these days.
Hiring managers may also be looking to sites beyond LinkedIn if they want to connect with younger workers.
E. Chandlee Bryan, a career coach and co-author of "The Twitter Job Search Guide," sees sites such as Pinterest and Google+ filling a niche for specific professionals. Pinterest, she said, is useful for people looking for jobs in the design and interior decorating fields, while Google+ seems skewed toward tech jobs.
The best rule of thumb is to check out where the companies you want to work for have the most presence and base your social media focus on those sites. Do they have a careers page on Facebook, or networking groups on LinkedIn or Google+? But don’t jump from networking site to networking site just because one job you want is posted there, Midkiff advised.
Don't just follow the latest media madness. You need a thought-out plan on what site works for your career aspirations.