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  • The Role of Social Media in the Job Search

    December 11, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A candidate searches for a job.

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

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    When it comes to interactions with employers during their job searches, students’ aversion to using social media as a communication tool is gradually softening, according to results of NACE’s Class of 2017 Student Survey.

    Students who used social media in the job search have become more comfortable with the idea of being contacted by potential employers via social media. (See Figure 1.) And while the majority of students still aren’t comfortable with the idea of initiating contact with employers through social media, that percentage is diminishing.

    Among the 52 percent of students who used social media in the job search, the most common way that they did so was to research potential employers of interest via a platform’s search bar, followed by posting a resume on a publicly accessible profile and communicating with friends and/or family to discuss job openings and potential employers. (See Figure 2.)

    Meanwhile, less common activities included communicating with current employees of potential employers, receiving recruiting-related messages from employers via private message, communicating with university alumni who worked for potential employers, and initiating contact with potential employers via private message. Researching potential employers via a platform’s hashtags was rarely undertaken.

    Among students who used social media in the job search, LinkedIn has remained highly popular, while Facebook and, in particular, Twitter have seen considerable drop-offs. In addition, LinkedIn was considered by far the most useful of the three. (See Figure 3).

    NACE’s Class of 2017 Student Survey was conducted from February 15 to April 30, 2017; more than 21,000 students at colleges and universities nationwide took part, including 4,200 graduating seniors. Participating schools will find a complimentary copy of the report in MyNACE > Research Reports; an executive summary is available on NACEWeb.

    Figure 1: Students’ Level of Comfort Communicating with Employers on Social Media

    Communication Type 2017 2016 2015
    Students comfortable being contacted by an employer 57.7% 52.4% 37.7%
    Students comfortable initiating contact with an employer 32.2% 24.7% 27.6%
    Source: Class of 2017 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. In this analysis of students who used social media as a resource in the job search, the percentages represent the students who, on a five-point scale, indicated that they were either “very” (4) or “extremely” (5) comfortable “being contacted” by and “initiating contact” with potential employers via social media.

    Figure 2: The Ways Students Use Social Media in the Job Search

    Use of Social Media % of Students
    Researching potential employers of interest via a platform’s search bar 77.9%
    Posting a resume on a publicly accessible profile 50.5%
    Communicating with friends and/or family to discuss job openings and potential employers 39.5%
    Communicating with current employees of potential employers 28.9%
    Receiving recruiting-related messages from employers via private message 27.8%
    Communicating with university alumni who worked for potential employers 18.7%
    Initiating contact with potential employers via private message 17.6%
    Researching potential employers via a platform’s hashtags 7.7%
    Source: Class of 2017 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers.

    Figure 3: Use and Effectiveness of Select Social Media Platforms in the Job Search

    Platform Class of 2017: % of Respondents
    Using
    Class of 2017: % Responding “Very” or “Extremely” Useful Class of 2016: % of Respondents
    Using
    Class of 2016: % Responding “Very” or “Extremely” Useful
    LinkedIn 83.7% 57.1% 86.2% 58.8%
    Facebook 44.1% 26.7% 53.5% 22.0%
    Twitter 16.8% 19.6% 23.0% 26.3%
    Source: Class of 2017 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. In this analysis of students who used each platform, the percentages represent the students who, on a five-point scale, indicated that the platform was either “very” (4) or “extremely” (5) useful in finding job openings and researching employers.