Barbara Safani No Comments

Everyday I counsel job seekers on how to leverage social media to accelerate their job search. And I’m happy to report that over the last year, more and more people are using LinkedIn as a way to stay in touch with people and build new relationships. But when I ask clients if they use Facebook, 9 times out of 10 the reply is, “Well, I have a Facebook account, but I only use it to keep up with personal relationships, not for job search.”

Why is it that people think the two are mutually exclusive? Why do many  people assume that you can’t find a job on Facebook? According to a recent survey by JobVite, nearly nine out of 10 job seekers (86%) have a social media profile. Facebook has the majority with 84% of job seekers, followed by 39% using Twitter and 35% using LinkedIn. Nearly 1/3 of job seekers (31%) have a profile on all three networks. But more than 1/3 of job seekers surveyed that have a Facebook profile don’t use it in any way to look for work. On the other hand, nearly all job seekers with a profile on LinkedIn and almost 3/4 of those on Twitter leverage their networks for job hunting.

Of those surveyed, 42% had 150+ contacts on Facebook, compared to just 26% with the same number of contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter.  So job seekers are using social media more aggressively on the platforms where they have fewer contacts. The odds of finding someone who can help you are greater when you have a larger network to draw on. Why are avid Facebook users less inclined to use it for job search? Here are some of the reasons I have heard in the past and my rebuttals to the Facebook for job search naysayers.

  1. My friends don’t know anyone. Usually when someone tells me this it means that their friends are not in their field so they don’t know anyone that could be useful in their search. But that is an incorrect assumption. You don’t know who your friends know until you ask them. Who are your friend’s friends and who do they know? That’s the real question you should be asking and Facebook is a great tool for shedding light on this.
  2. I want to be myself on Facebook and I can’t do that if employers can view my profile. You don’t have to share everything about yourself with everyone. Facebook has an extensive privacy section and you can make decisions about who sees what every time you post.
  3. My current boss is a Facebook friend and I don’t want  him to see my job search activity. Job seekers can use a third party application like BranchOut or BeKnown to source important contacts via Facebook without adding them as Facebook friends.
  4. No serious employers will be sourcing talent via Facebook. Go to Facebook and do a search on an employer you are interested in. I’m pretty sure you will find their Facebook page. And that page is filled with fans who “like” their page and regularly comment on it. Facebook fan pages are a place where companies build engagement with the people who use their products and services. It’s also a place where job seekers can source valuable information about the company and even job leads.