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Social Networking Explodes As Job-Search Tool

Social Networking Explodes As Job-Search Tool

Sites offer many benefits, but pitfalls abound as job seekers learn the ropes

CHICAGO, November 17, 2009 – As the nation’s job seekers attempt to find any advantage in a tight job market, more and more are turning to social networking to stand out from the crowd. However, while these sites have the potential to revolutionize the job search, they could also prove harmful for those who rely too heavily on them or misuse them, warns one employment authority.

“The job search has changed radically over the last two decades with the advent of electronic mail, the Internet, social networking, smart phones, etc. However, it is important to remember that all of these technologies simply enhance the job search; they will never replace the face-to-face connections that are critical to a successful search,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., which provides job-search training and counseling to individuals who have lost their job.

“That being said, we feel that these new networking tools are essential and now advise all of the job seekers going through our program to open LinkedIn accounts and to consider other services such as Facebook and Twitter,” said Challenger.

“Of course, many of the job seekers going through our program do not need the advice as they are already among the millions who have signed up on social networking sites in recent years,” he added.

The number of Americans belonging to social networking sites has grown exponentially in the last five years. It is now estimated that 51 percent of online U.S. adults utilize social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, according to a recent survey by Forrester Research. That is up from the 25 percent of users who reported using social networking sites in 2007.

One reason the number of social networkers is on the rise is due to increased use among business professionals. In fact, the most rapidly growing age group represented on Facebook is the 35-and-older population.