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Why Facebook is the Last Place to Look for a Job

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

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Facebook is arguably the number one social networking site on the Internet. From personal to business to commercial pages, Facebook claims over 700,000 users around the globe. But when you're looking for a job, Facebook is the last social network in which you should focus your job hunt. You stand a better chance of finding gainful employment off a job search engine than you do off Facebook, and those odds aren't great.

If Facebook has all those users, and virtually every recruitment and social network expert states just the opposite, why is this advice valid? That's a good question, and the answer is so simple that it's often overlooked: Time. You just can't often afford the time it takes to have reasonable hope of it working for you.

When you are searching for a job, you rarely can afford the time it will take to develop the recognizable relationship required for a decent shot at a job, even if the prospective employer has an application invitation directly on their Facebook page.

Less than two percent of positions are filled by Facebook contact. Most of that percentage is via recruiters who scour the job groups. They cherry-pick those users who comment regularly and show reasonable expertise in the subject matter. The recruiters contact the user—you—and invite you to sign up with them, and they contact prospective employers with your resume.

But how long will it take for you to get noticed? As a control element, we created 23 different profiled users in three areas of expertise. The user profiles and response content portray post-graduate knowledge of the three different job fields. Three of those profiled users did not apply directly from a prospective employer's page; the other 20 did. Not one of those applications were chosen for possible interviews.

Then three months later, 12 of those same profiled users sent hard-copy cover letters and resumes in response to trade advertisements. All 12 were invited for person-to-person interviews. (Alas, each just accepted another position and was “unable” to discuss the open positions at that time. Don't worry; no one lost an opportunity from this experiment.)

Now, compare the Facebook approach at 0 for 23 and the “real world” ad approach at 12 for 23. Job search engine sites fill only four percent of all jobs posted with electronic submissions, but that four percent possibility is better than the less-than-one percent chance of being noticed on Facebook discussions.

By all means, create a professionally oriented page. Become friends of businesses and job groups. Get involved, inform and stay informed. But don't put all your resumes in one e-basket, especially on Facebook. You just can't afford to wait the three to six months to create reliable posting history—IF you're noticed at all.

Instead, mention your Facebook page; provide a link. Your job groups and your employer-page involvement will show. Don't count on Facebook to get you your next job, though.

Too many users, too many poorly constructed responses and far too many irrelevant friend responses on your page all contribute to your becoming that needle in the haystack that may end up pricking your own thumb.

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