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Social networks in the quest for jobs

Although job seekers now using social networks to look for work, they would do better through traditional means, according to a recruiter.
Written by Konrad Foo, Contributor

More professionals are turning to social networks in hopes of ultimately securing jobs, but such sites lack what recruitment agencies can provide, say observers.

Leong, an IT professional in the financial industry told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail, social networks are an effective means of providing opportunities for "casual jobs" such as survey respondents, freelance photographers and part-time work, as well as the much-publicized "The Best Job in the World".

Mark Melo, specialist recruitment consultant of Robert Walters' IT & T division, said because the reach of social networks is so wide and extends across the world, job advertisements posted on them may not reach the targeted employers or candidates who fit the job.

Rather than volume, "it's more about identifying and matching the right person with the right skills and personality for the job", Melo said.

A high number of irrelevant job applications will result, with more time and resources being wasted going through them, which is a "luxury" the HR department does not have, he said.

As the types of members differ with each social networking site, it is important to choose the right social networking platform that relates to one's industry or profession.

Leong pointed out, for example, a LinkedIn member would portray a more "serious" image, compared to a member of Facebook.

"If you are promoting yourself, Facebook might be a great place to do so, provided the service you are selling is targeted for that platform. [At the site,] I might try to advertise freelance CEO services but I doubt anyone would take me seriously, or I could advertise [for a] freelance computer tutor and there might be some takers", Leong said.

LinkedIn was built for the purpose of "exposing our professional lives", he added.

Agreeing, Melo said the site is targeted more towards the mid- to senior-level professionals.

Private matter
When using social networks, job seekers should be mindful of certain issues, including privacy issues, credibility of the job opportunity and reliability of the hirer or employer.

"Job seeking is a very personal and a private thing, and I am not sure if a senior professional would be confident in engaging via LinkedIn or Facebook with an employer who wants to discuss salary details and compensation", said Melo.

Leong agreed, adding people seeking jobs by posting personal details on the Internet are "baring part of our life to everyone". However, it is one's own decision to decide what information is being shared online.

Other threats to personal privacy are the frequent attacks on social networking sites by hackers and viruses, he added.

Melo said seeking jobs online results in a lack of the "personal touch" and loss of the expertise from recruitment consultancies. He added such sites are more often than not "another channel" to complement the recruitment process.

Based in Singapore, Konrad Foo is an intern with ZDNet Asia.

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