NACE Logo NACE Center Logo
National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition®
mobile menu
  • Social Media Lags as a Job-Search Tool

    November 14, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A college student uses social media as a way to search for jobs.

    TAGS: technology, student attitudes, surveys, social media, spotlight

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    In general, social media is one of the least popular job-search resources among college students, according to those responding to NACE’s 2018 Student Survey.

    Just 40 percent of respondents reported using social media in their job search, and few of those who have used social media in this pursuit found the primary platforms especially useful. Among the 40 percent of students who did use social media in the job search, the most common use was researching employers. (See Figure 1.) More than one-third of respondents used it to communicate with friends and/or family to discuss potential employers, and to post their resume on a public profile.

    Although more than half (52.6 percent) of student respondents who reported using social media in the job search were “very” to “extremely” comfortable with employers contacting them via social media, less than 20 percent report having been contacted by employers in this manner. 

    Students were less comfortable as the ones doing the reaching out: Just 31.6 percent said they were comfortable doing so, and less than 15 percent have contacted potential employers via private message through social media.

    Those using social media in the job search were asked specifically about three social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Among these respondents, LinkedIn was the most frequently used (72.7 percent), followed by Facebook (50.5 percent) and Twitter (25 percent). However, none were deemed especially useful as a job-search tool (LinkedIn: 36.9 percent found it useful; Facebook: 15.7 percent; and Twitter: 6.8 percent).

    The 2018 Student Survey Report details the attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes for bachelor’s degree students at all class levels. (Note: Previous reports provided data only on graduating seniors.) The focus of this report is the 22,109 bachelor’s degree students from the 2017-18 academic school year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018). Breakdowns by class level are as follows: 4,336 freshmen, 4,174 sophomores, 5,709 juniors, and 7,890 graduating seniors. Data collection took place from February 14, 2018, to April 30, 2018. Participating schools will find a complimentary copy of the 2018 Student Survey Report in MyNACE > Research Reports; an executive summary is available on NACEWeb.

    Figure 1: How students use social media*

    Use of Social Media Percent
    Researched potential employers via social media search engine 65.7%
    Communicated with friends and/or family to discuss potential employers 39.7%
    Posted resume on public profile 33.4%
    Communicated with employees of potential employer (exclude alumni) 21.5%
    Have been contacted by employers via private message 19.7%
    Contacted potential employer via private message 14.3%
    Communicated with alumni who work for potential employer 13.5%
    Researched potential employer via hash-tags 11.1%
    Source: 2018 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. *Among those students who reported using social media in the job search.