With the growing popularity of social networks and blog sites, employers and job searchers alike are readily taking advantage of this updated and convenient option for job availability.

“Many career services are using MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter as an advertising/marketing tool for their upcoming events and generating interest about their services,” said Annie Lan, director of Career Services at Tyler Junior College.

Job search engines are now featuring their job updates on Facebook, posting messages about effective job searching, hyperlinks to other job sites, and even tips on how to improve job search skills.

Facebook also provides downloadable applications for employers to search employees and/or résumés. With this new addition, employers are reaching out to recent college graduates by accessing Facebook and other social network Web sites. These applications also permit the ability to have quicker updates of job openings where members can read jobs, as well as, forward information to other members.

LinkedIn.com is a common professional profile networking tool that can act as an online résumé. This Web site has created a way to keep connections with businesses and acquaintances, making job posting or job searching open to others in the network.

“It can be a good tool especially if you’re wanting to connect with your professors or people you’ve worked with in the past,” said Lan. “It can be an excellent tool to get connected and also meet different people through their network.”

Making separate blogs or profiles based on a specific job market is also a way employers search for potential employees. These social networking sites can be accessed by anyone in that specific job field interested in seeing the information posted.

However, posting to the public also has its down sides. Potential employers can access personal profiles just as easily as professional ones. Even if Facebook is not a reference on a résumé, employers are more prone to search for one. Many hiring employers search the Internet to find where an applicant’s name has been posted or a picture has been downloaded.

“We are not beyond Googling and seeing what is out there and hoping to find good and reputable information to support the applicant’s character,” said Kevin Fowler, director of Human Resources for TJC.

Current employers can also check these kinds of social blogs to see the way certain employees post feedback about their job and how they display their personal life.

“Keep in mind that just about anything that is online can be read by someone – or everyone,” said Alison Doyle, writer for About.com, which is a part of the New York Times Company.

It is always wise to self-guard the personalaspect of a social network. It is extremely important that not too much personal information is put out there for the world to see.

Users should take notice of which friends and co-workers can view a Web site such as Facebook or MySpace.

“When used right, it is a great tool to stay connected with friends and family,” said Lan. “But at the same time, you have to be cautious and protect yourself.”

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