College grads turn to social media to land jobs

College graduates are hitting social media sites to find jobs — using them to find out salary and compensation information, job descriptions and information about the employer’s training and development programs.

And more of them are using sites like Facebook and Twitter – the numbers are up 33 percent since 2008.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 41 percent of 2012 college grads are using social media to help them land a job.

Students are most likely to use social media in the job search to network with employers, according to the NACE survey results. However, the survey also found that students are nearly as likely to use social media as a means for researching employers.

“Nearly one-quarter of 2012 graduates using social media identified it as a research tool, up from 17 percent just a year ago, and up from 15 percent among 2010 graduates,” said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

Just 7 percent of the Class of 2008 reported interacting with an employer through social media, and more than half said they didn’t even notice employer ads on social networking sites.  But that’s changed significantly.

“Unlike students four years ago who were unclear about the use of social media in the job search, today’s students see it a viable tool to gather employer information,” Mackes said.

But one bad social media blunder – for a seasoned employee or new job seeker – could put your career at risk, said Jason Moyes, Colorado Springs recruiter for national technology firm Robert Half Technology, which fills jobs for high tech companies.

“Something to think about is to be aware of your existing online presence,” Moyes said.

As a recruiter, he turns to Facebook and LinkedIn and other sites to both attract job candidates to high-tech jobs and to research job candidates. His advice to job seekers: lock down Facebook and keep LinkedIn professional.

“Another good tip, when you are marketing yourself, is to be professional,” he said. “Don’t send out a mass blast. Send a tailored message to each of the networking groups.”