There are varieties of surveys on the Internet about what percent of job seekers use social media to find a job. The problem with these surveys is that the people who take them are heavy Internet users who voluntarily take time to take surveys. The surveys do not come from employers. What these numbers really show is what percent of the people who actually spend a great deal of time on the Internet get their job through social media.
Based on what I read on the Internet, these surveys show that close to 30% of the job seekers in the surveys use social media in their job search. See, for example, TweetMyJobs.com. That number means that 70% do not use social media in their job search.
My advice to job seekers is that you do a terrific job of putting a highly polished profile on the bigger social media sites. Hiring companies and recruiters do search these sites. However, I recommend that you also work very hard using some alternatives to social media.
- Direct applications with hiring companies
- Your own professional network
- Recruiters who have a network worth your time
- Job boards
- Professional organizations
- Trade shows and conventions
When you do use a social media site, scan it for people at companies where you know there are job openings or where you would like to get a job.
Before you attempt to connect with a person, do your home. Learn about them from their online profile. Research the company where they work. Build a database profile that you will help you make an effective contact and that you can use for future reference.
You can create a folder full of document profiles. You can create an email address book. As a recruiter, I have never found that either of these shortcuts gives me effective control over my networking and relationship building.
I recommend that you use contact management software. I have always used Act! Contact Management Software. There are other contact management applications, including free ones. How well these applications work depends on three things:
- The amount of detail you want to include about each contact
- The number of contacts you want to store
- The amount of money you want to spend
Here is the information I put into my contact management database.
|City, State Zip|
|Office Direct Dial|
|Company Job Web Page|
|Referred By||Example, LinkedIn, friend, confidential referral|
|Name of Office Assistant|
|Home City, State Zip|
I use the same profile for clients and for applicants. Some applications separate the databases for hiring companies and networking contacts. For my purposes, that step is not necessary. Since recruiters do not recruit people from companies where they place people, the name of the company is all I need to know to distinguish the type of contact I am reviewing.
Your contact management software should also help you schedule tasks, record your contact history, and send and receive your email.
Recruiters play a role in the process for some job seekers. The usefulness of a recruiter varies greatly with the type of job. For example, retailers get most of their clerks from their storefront walk-in traffic or their website. Job boards help people find jobs. Some people find their jobs through direct referral. Some companies pay their employees for their referrals. Many people find jobs by applying at the website of the hiring company.
The point is that as a job seeker, you should use social media. You should start with a highly polished profile that will attract hiring companies and recruiters. At the same time, you should limit the time you spend on social media sites, because 70 percent of the jobs come from sources other than social media.