Tools & Tips

Social Media | How they can helph College Students in Job Search

“A groundbreaking survey from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that recent college graduates, like many others across the United States, are struggling in today’s job market. Only a little over half of recent college graduates are working in full-time jobs. Additionally, half are working in jobs that do not require a B.A. or B.S. degree. And while 75% believe their college education helped prepare them to be successful in their careers, 58% of recent college graduates say that their college’s career planning offices did not do well in helping them to prepare for their job search” write Robb C. Sewell, Michele Martin, Savannah Barnett, and Christine Jenter in Graduating to Success in Employment: How Social Media Can Aid College Students in the Job Search on heldrich.rutgers.edu.

But, “relatively few colleges are tapping into social media as a channel for job search. And a number of those that do are approaching it from an alarmist perspective, emphasizing the hazards and negative consequences of social networking, and neglecting to focus on the positive aspects of using social media for the job search. The failure of college career centers to educate students about using social media for job search is troubling when one considers the fact that approximately 41% of college seniors use some form of social media in their search for employment, and 89% of hiring managers use or plan to use social media to find workers.”

The Importance of Social  Media for Employers and College Students

“Employers today are increasingly using social media to find and recruit workers as opposed  to spending company resources advertising on job boards like CareerBuilder or Monster or using head hunters to find ideal employees. According to a Jobvite survey, 89% of human resources (HR) managers use or plan to use social networking to find employees.

“Additionally, 64% of employers have used social media to successfully recruit workers. Employers are finding it is faster, easier, and more cost effective to advertise their jobs on social media sites like LinkedIn, and are searching LinkedIn’s member profiles for employees who best match their needs. They are also advertising job openings on Twitter and driving applicants to their own Web sites to apply. Finally, employers are utilizing social media and fledgling companies like Social Intelligence to screen job applicants by exploring their online lives and histories.

“Students, meanwhile, are increasingly turning to social media for their job search. Today,  roughly 31% of college seniors have LinkedIn profiles, while nearly 23% have Twitter accounts. Almost 70% with accounts on both LinkedIn and Twitter report using them for their job search. And how are they using social media for their job search? Eightyone percent of college seniors use LinkedIn to distribute their profiles to their network contacts and prospective employers, while almost half use it to research employers.

“With the increasing use of social media for seeking employment, researching prospective employers, and finding, recruiting, and screening job candidates, it is imperative that college students and graduates build
and maintain a solid, professional presence on social networking sites, especially those that focus on jobs and employment. Thus, great responsibility for preparing and guiding students to use social media properly
and professionally falls on the shoulders of college and university career center professionals.”

Getting Started -Tips and Advices from the Report

  • Acquaint yourself with how recruiters and HR staff are using social mediato find, connect with, and vet job applicants.
  • Start using social media personally.
    • ƒ Set up a personal LinkedIn profile.
    • ƒ Set up a Twitter account
    • ƒ Get on Facebook.
    • ƒ Regularly read HR-related blogs.
  • Begin using social media tools to promote events, share information, and begin developing communities and connections.
    • ƒ Create LinkedIn groups for students, alumni, and employers.
    • ƒ Set up a Facebook “fan page” for your career services office
    • ƒ Create a YouTube career services “channel.”
    • ƒ Create a Slideshare account and “channel.”
    • ƒ Recruit students and/or graduates to blog about their job search experiences.
    • ƒ Consider podcasts.
  • Start teaching students and alumni how to use the tools for job search.
    • ƒ Find and share existing presentations on using social media for the job search.
    • ƒ Incorporate social media into existing job search workshops and trainings.
    • ƒ Connect with recruiters and HR staff who may be willing to run workshops on using social media in the job search.
  • Balance your message by discussing both the benefits and disadvantages of social media.
  • Accentuate the best.
  • Build communities.
  • Embrace new tactics.
  • Don’t forget about smartphones and mobile apps.
  • Leverage your resources.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Keep your information up-to-date and accurate.
  • Don’t just focus on the here and now.

“With employers increasingly tapping into social media to find and screen workers, and job seekers using social media to search for jobs and research prospective employers, it is critical that college career centers embrace social media tools alongside their traditional offerings and service approaches. It is also important for college career centers to advise students and alumni about the positive aspects of social networking versus focusing solely on its risks and negative consequences. ”

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