Using the Internet and Social Media to Search for a Job

    Using the Internet and Social Media to Search for a Job
    Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
    One adviser says find a match for your skills rather than just a job title

    This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

    The job market is more competitive than ever for millions of workers around the world. In America, one reason right now is the slow recovery in job growth after the recession.

    But other reasons involve changes in the needs of the American and global economies. In big developing economies like India and China, high turnover rates mean workers often move from job to job.

    These days, many job seekers go online to connect with employers. Job candidates want to show they have a lot to offer. But in many cases they simply apply for a job title and list their work experience. Instead, they should describe the talents and abilities they could bring to an organization.

    That is the advice of Steve Langerud, director of professional opportunities at DePauw University in Indiana. He advises students on career planning and often talks about workplace issues in the media.

    He says social media sites are valuable when they show the abilities of job candidates and not just their job title and experience.

    STEVE LANGERUD: "This really is a talent economy, and we're stuck with most job seekers presenting themselves in a job title mode. And I don't think it matches very well."

    Steve Langerud says employers, too, should change their search methods. They should think harder about the skills they really need to help their organization reach its goals.

    STEVE LANGERUD: "Because at the end of the day, its still about getting the right people in the right place at the right time and then keeping them."

    Ben Kirshner is the founder and chief executive of a media marketing company based in New York called Elite SEM. SEM is search engine marketing. His company's job is to help businesses improve their websites and search engine results.

    Ben Kirshner says when his company is searching for candidates for new positions, it first looks within. It considers existing employees. After that, he says, social sites can be valuable for finding new people.

    BEN KIRSHNER: "Twenty-five percent of our new hires come from social media. Seventy-five percent typically come from word of mouth."

    In other words, three out of four people are found based on recommendations from others.

    Elite SEM uses sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to learn about job candidates. LinkedIn is a networking site for professionals, so users might be more careful about what they say.

    Mr. Kirshner says a site like Facebook can also provide a lot of information -- good or bad -- about a person. So pay attention to what you put on the Internet and what others put online about you.

    And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. Next week, more about searching for a job online. I'm Steve Ember.