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How social media has changed the way we look for work

Long gone are the days of flicking through a newspaper to the classified job listings and circling those that sound most interesting.


Technology has changed the way job-seekers find work, and how recruiters find potential candidates.


For more than a decade, online job portals such as Indeed, Reed and Monster have been the go-to destinations for those looking for work, but clunky search functions and out-of-date listings have pushed more professionals toward alternative job hunting tools: primarily, social media.


Today, prospective candidates are increasingly using social platforms to advertise their skills and experience, and to "build their brand", and recruiters are turning their attention to these sites more than ever before.


Ask any recruiter which social media tool is best for job-hunting, and the majority will say LinkedIn, which has more than 15 million active job listings and 25 million job-seekers visiting the site every week. But Facebook and Twitter are also being utilized to a greater extent.


In February, Facebook announced that it was expanding its job-finding function to more than 40 countries,  raising the prospect that it will come to compete with LinkedIn as the go-to employment network for job-seekers and businesses alike.


It claims that one in four Americans now look for a job on the social network.


And while Twitter often flies under the radar as a tool for job searching, the ability to use hashtags such as #jobs, #jobsearch and #careers helps individuals locate job listings posted on the site, and recruiters are able to find active job-seekers.


A spokesman for Twitter said #jobs had been one of the most popular hashtags in Britain this year, used more than 3.3 million times as of last month. #Hiring is also one of the top UK hashtags of the year, he added.


So how essential is social media in finding new work, or prospective candidates?


'We use social platforms to project the reality of life inside Asos'


LinkedIn has more than 26 million companies on its platform, many of which actively use it to discover and hire new talent.


One of these is online fashion giant Asos. Its talent brand and engagement partner, Holly Middlemiss, said the retailer had been using social media to recruit and attract potential employees for years, and did so by direct messaging passive job-seekers – those not actively searching for a job.


Asos also utilizes its own careers page to showcase the company culture and get an "authentic voice across to our audience".


Ms Middlemiss said social media was particularly beneficial because the retailer is able to engage with a wider "targeted" audience. "As a business, we don’t want to spam people with irrelevant job information, so we ensure we utilize social media by pushing the right content towards the right audience," she said.


While Asos continues to use traditional methods of recruitment, such as attending career fairs, conferences and larger recruitment events, there is an increasing focus on social networks, she said.


'Job sites seem pretty archaic to me now'


Megan Banting discovered her current job as partnership account manager at ITV through LinkedIn.


The 29-year-old who lives in south-east London said it was the first time she relied solely on social media to find a new role, having previously opted for the "more clunky and arduous recruitment sites, or word of mouth".


She said: "It feels like a more modern way of job seeking, calling a recruitment agent or scrolling through pages of (mostly irrelevant) jobs on a search site seems pretty archaic to me now."


She does, however, believe that word-of-mouth is still an important way of job-seeking. "Knowing someone who can vouch for you professionally, and also having an honest opinion of a company from someone you know before applying, really helps with the process and my decision to apply."


Since starting her job at ITV 12 months ago, she has been approached "a few times" by recruiters on LinkedIn, despite not actively looking for a new role.


"Prospective employers can find out a lot more information about you on social media than on your CV. It's a more personal experience, with a photo, being able to see the connections you've made and also endorsements from others."


'I never got much back from recruiters'


After graduating from university and working various temp jobs, Hannah Polson decided to look for a permanent job in London, sending her CV to recruiters in the hope of landing a job in the public relations industry.


Having "not got much back from them", the 26-year-old from Banbury then took to Twitter to hunt for potential roles.


She searched popular hashtags such as #jobs, #prjobs, #texasjobs and found the page of PR agency Rostrum. "When I searched various hashtags this agency cropped up. I hadn't heard of it before, but from its posts, which showed, for example, staff baking competitions and charity days, I could tell that it would be a fun, sociable and inclusive company to work for."


The senior account manager has now been at the company for three years, and believes that social media gave her an in-depth insight into the agency's work culture, something that jobs sites and company pages often lack.


According to Polina Montano, co-founder of mobile hiring app Job Today, transparency is one of the main trends in hiring today. "Both parties of the recruitment process want to more about each other. For example, employers want to see character traits of candidates such as personality, reliability and motivation.


"And job-seekers want to know more about how it feels working at that company. For example, what do people who work there have to say, are they happy about how they are treated there, and is it a great place to work?"


Ms Polson added: "I think it is great that platforms like Twitter exist to link up companies and applicants who otherwise might never have found each other."

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