Employers also are using these sites to screen applicants, disqualifying many about whom they find unsavory photos and information. BusinessWeek says 35 percent of surveyed employers have eliminated candidates based on online information.
Social media is morphing into all sorts of new forms. Specialty social-networking sites are springing up. Ning is a site that enables users to create their own social network on just about any subject (Ning had more than 230,000 social networks under its umbrella as of 2008). You can search Ning for networks relevant to your career field and to job-hunting.
Another trend is micro-blogging, slightly different from the other social-networking approaches, at wildly popular sites such as Twitter — telling folks in just a few words what the user is doing at any given moment. On Twitter, people periodically update with “tweets” that tell what they are doing. Anyone can “follow” anyone else on Twitter (unless the Twitterer has blocks in place). Some users follow and are followed by thousands; at least one expert, Robin Good of Master New Media, recommends users follow no more than 200-300 people “if you want to be able to really follow what these individuals have to say.” For career advancement, it’s best that most tweets deliver some sort of value, reveal your personality, or share interesting information. Job-seekers can use these tweets to broadcast the fact that they are in the job hunt and ask advice. They can also “follow” employers, recruiters, and those who offer good job-seeking advice. Allison Doyle lists some of the best people and entities for job-seekers to follow, while Willy Franzen has published 50 Twitter Users to Follow for Your Job Search. Another great entity to follow is @JobAngels, which asks followers “to simply help one person find a job.” Jason Buss of The Talent Buzz suggests searching Twitter bios with a tool such as Tweepsearch; for example, a search using “HR” as the keyword or one using “recruiter.” You can also search Twitter using keywords to see who is talking about your career field and other topics of interest – and set up an RSS feed for those search terms. Remember, too, that employers also search Twitter (and other networks) by keyword, so ensure that your profile and status updates contain keywords relevant to your desired career field.