But a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that while a whopping 94 percent of employers who responded said they trolled LinkedIn to find job candidates, 54 percent also tapped Facebook, which has 1.39 billion monthly users — four times the size of LinkedIn.
Simple and subtle networking in the virtual world is essential for everyone in the job market today. Here’s why: Employers hire people they know, or know through their contacts.
In the recent survey “The Long Road Back: Struggling to Find Work After Unemployment,” AARP’s Public Policy Institute found that of 2,155 people ages 45 to 64 who had been unemployed at some time during the past five years, 46 percent said reaching out to their network of contacts was viewed as the most effective step in their job search.
If you’re inclined to ask people you know to help with your job search, you’re more likely to find these folks on Facebook.
While LinkedIn leans toward higher-paying professional or management positions, Facebook can help if you’re looking for nonexecutive work or part-time positions, or you are a business owner ramping up a clientele.
“LinkedIn is seen by many as the site for white-collar workers,” according to Aliah D. Wright, an expert on HR technology and social media trends and author of A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites. “Many recruiters who work in other industries and are recruiting for blue-collar workers often turn their efforts to Facebook and other social channels in order to find talent.”
“Some company recruiters have recognized the value of having their employees network for them,” Wright says. “They’re asking their employees to share job openings with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other niche social sites they may use.”
Before reaching out to colleagues and potential new contacts, make sure your Facebook page is first class.
Set up a strong profile
Focus on work and education, including where you worked the past 10–15 years, omitting any places you worked for fewer than six months. Add professional skills and education. Your contact information should include links to your website or blog (if you have one). You may also want to include your email address, but people can also contact you using Facebook’s message feature.
See also: 9 ways to liven up your LinkedIn profile
If you already have a Facebook page, scroll through it and remove any inappropriate photos or comments. Look for photos you may be tagged in that are posted by someone else. If you don’t want to be identified in the photo, go to the upper right corner of the image and remove it, or untag yourself. Review your privacy settings and consider limiting what you share.
For most content, you have the following options:
- Public: Share with anyone on or off Facebook.
- Friends: Share only with people you befriended on Facebook.
- Only Me: Visible only by you.
- Custom: Share with specific friends or groups of friends or not share with specific friends or groups of friends.
- Selected Groups: You can create groups, such as Family, Friends and Coworkers, add specific Facebook friends to each group, and share selectively with those groups.
Change your privacy settings by clicking the icon in the upper right corner of any Facebook page, clicking Settings, and then click Privacy in the navigation bar on the left.
Find networking connections
In the search bar, type “people who work at” and the name of the company. It should call up a couple of people you know who work there. Then click on “see more” and see your other friends who work there, plus a roster of other people on Facebook who work at the company. You’ll have to click through each person to see whether you have mutual friends. It’s not perfect, but you will find friends who work at companies you are interested in learning more about.
You might also consider signing into Glassdoor via your Facebook account. This career and jobs database has a reputation as a place to track an employer and sleuth out anonymous salary information and other scoops provided by anonymous insiders. By integrating Glassdoor with your Facebook account (and giving it access to your friend list), you can see where your Facebook friends work.
Follow companies or organizations that interest you
A lot of businesses have Facebook pages and by clicking the “Like” button and the “+Follow” button you can see their posts and status updates on your newsfeed.
If you are in business for yourself, create a page for your business. The benefit is you can keep your personal and professional status updates separate. I have an author page, for example, that I use to promote my expert articles, speaking engagements and books. I also have my personal Facebook page. I do post many professional items on my personal page because I like my friends to see what I’m up to. Plus, it’s a great way to market my business at the same time.
Check out Facebook groups
There’s a wide range of special interest and local job search and industry groups. Most are closed groups, which means you have to ask to join and then an administrator must approve you.
Many of these groups list hourly jobs that run the gamut from employers looking for carpenters, electricians or plumbers to local auto dealers who need a part-time salesperson or a child care center that needs a teaching assistant.
“It’s not the be-all and end-all in a job search, but it is one place to look,” says Deana Duvall, coadministrator of the Facebook group page for those looking for work in three Maryland counties. “There is a little something for everyone from weekend work to jobs where you need a college degree.”
Duvall’s group, Now Hiring Carroll, Frederick or Howard County Maryland, has over 9,000 members. The requirement: Only residents of Maryland or employers hiring in Maryland will be added to the group. Employers may post jobs available in those three counties.
“Our page is very local and our jobseeker members range in age from someone in their 20s to around 70,” says Duvall. “It’s a place where small businesses, like a frozen yogurt shop, can advertise for free for a retail counter person, or a part-time clerical position — something that they would have to pay for on the bigger job boards like CareerBuilder, Indeed, Monster or even the local newspaper.”
Duvall’s group also features posts on local job fairs and listings from job boards.
Her advice for job seekers: “Before you post a comment on the site, clean up your grammar. And no texting slang — say, typing the number 2 instead of ‘to,’ ” she says. “And to appear professional, stay away from emojis, too.”
Reppler and SimpleWash are Facebook timeline scanning tools that scrutinize your pictures and timeline posts for tone, appropriateness and any signs of someone hacking your account. To use either tool, log in with your Facebook account and give it a few minutes to scan your timeline. Repeat the scan every couple of weeks to make sure your timeline is still clean.
BranchOut analyzes your Facebook friend network to help you identify all of your professional connections, including your friends and your friends’ friends, providing access to 3 million available jobs. To use BranchOut, click in the People or Jobs box, type the name of the person or the job title you’re looking for, select a category to search, and click the Search People or Search Jobs button.
The first time you use the service, it requests that you log on to your Facebook account, so it can obtain the information it needs to do its job, including accessing your friend list, email address, work and education history, and your friends’ work and education history.
Assuming you agree to the terms and service, click Okay. BranchOut displays the relevant jobs matched by title, location and company name. You can search for people by company name and see which of your friends or friends of friends work at that company.
Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her books include What’s Next? Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties and Beyond and Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills.Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.