Social Media, Mobile and the Search for Employment (Report)

By David Cohen Comment


What role does social media play in the search for employment? A fairly substantial role, according to the latest study from Pew Research Center.

Pew found that nearly two-thirds of Americans use social media platforms of some kind in their job searches, adding:

  • 35 percent of social media users have used social networks to search for or research jobs.
  • 34 percent have used it to inform their friends about available positions at their workplaces.
  • 21 percent have applied for jobs they discovered via social media.
  • 13 percent said information they have posted on social media has helped them land jobs.
  • 53 percent of African Americans have alerted friends about job openings at their companies via social media, versus just 31 percent of whites.

Pew added that the use of social media while seeking employment is not limited to younger users, as about one-quarter of those 50 and older have incorporated social networks into their efforts, and 11 percent have applied for jobs they discovered via social media.

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Other, non-social-media-related findings by Pew included:

  • 79 percent of Americans who have looked for new jobs in the past two years have used online resources, compared with 80 percent who used professional contacts, close friends, family and more distant personal connections.
  • 34 percent said resources and information they discovered online was the most important element in their recent job searches.
  • However, 17 percent said it would not be easy for them to create professional résumés; 12 percent said it would be difficult for them to find jobs online; 12 percent said filling out job applications online would be difficult; 11 percent said the same for email; and 10 percent for looking up online services for job seekers.
  • 28 percent of Americans—and 53 percent of those aged 18 through 29—have used smartphones as part of their job searches.
  • 94 percent of those who have incorporated smartphones into their efforts have used them to browse or research job listings, 87 percent to call potential employers and 74 percent to email about jobs.
  • 50 percent of smartphone job seekers (14 percent of all adults) have filled out online job applications via their devices, while 23 percent (6 percent) have created résumés or cover letters with their smartphones.

Pew Research Center associate director of research Aaron Smith said in a release introducing the study:

Online proficiency has become more and more important to finding work in today’s job market, but some aspects of the digital job search are a substantial challenge for many Americans. And in many cases, individuals who might benefit the most from being able to perform these behaviors effectively—such as those with relatively low levels of educational attainment or those who are currently not employed for pay—are the ones who find them most daunting.

Readers: How did Pew’s findings compare with your personal job-seeking experiences?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.