Job SearchThere has been much discussion about Facebook and employee job searches over the last few years, and in recent months, in particular, with regard to potential new employers asking job candidates for their Facebook passwords.

With all the discussion and brouhaha, it’s gotten a bit confusing. What shouldn’t you do? What should you do? When should you do it? Why should you do it?

Just like anything, there are pluses and minuses to using Facebook (and any social media tool) while looking for a job. If you are like millions of Americans using Facebook and looking for work, here are some tips about the right and wrong way to make social networking work for you.

You Want My What?

Don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights when an employer asks for your Facebook password. Know that it might happen and know how to respond.

In the March 2012 Reuter’s article, “More Employers Asking for Facebook Passwords,” writer and lawyer Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. suggests that even though requesting your FB password is legal, employers should think twice about making this move. In fact, there are several discussions across the country about banning the practice (the state of Maryland already has). However, Rabiner offers employers a solution: friend would-be employees instead. Consider this request carefully before you accept.

Additionally, before you walk into your next job interview, you should be prepared. For some assistance on how to respond to a potential employer’s request for your FB password, check out Heather Breen’s April 12, 2012 article, “5 Responses to an Employer’s Demand for Your Facebook Password.”

Using Facebook to Find a Job

As social media continues to grow, so does the practice of using social media for job recruitment and job searching. In fact, Aoife Gorey’s article “Fired Over Facebook” reports that in a recent Microsoft study 70% of recruiters rejected job applicants based on information found online, while a Reppler survey found that 91% of companies use social networks for screening.

Furthermore, some statistics from Infographic and posted in the April 2012 article “The Stats on Social Media Recruiting,” suggest that 94.5% of recruiters used LinkedIn for hiring. Suggestions to job seekers include:

  • Get social media referrals
  • Follow recruiters such as @electra, @Fishdogs, and @smheadhunter on Twitter
  • Use keywords in your profile bio

Another article, “Savvy Job Seekers Use Facebook for Job Search and Career Growth,” offers additional suggestions on how to utilize FB to cultivate relationships and find organizations that might lead to employment.

Another Reason to Use Facebook in Your Job Search

As the Gorey article warns, don’t rush to delete your FB account just yet. The Reppler survey also found that 68% of the time having a social presence contributed to someone being hired.

A lot of your success will be dependent on how you use Facebook and other social media sites. Moreover, one of the basic factors that will be important in your job search is having the ability to show that you are in touch with the latest trends and technology, and capable of using the newest apps and social media.

So while you may not want to share your private information with a potential new employer (especially if you grouse online about the difficulty of finding a job), having the right skills and knowledge will be important to your job search. It’s just a matter of understanding the role that social media can take in your job search efforts.