Social networking sites allow students to easily contact potential employers

By Colleen Vest

Some people cannot go more than an hour, let alone a day, without checking Facebook, which may not be such a bad thing.

That’s why some advisers encourage students to use all of the tools social networking provides, which includes career research.

“Businesses tend to use Facebook as more of an opportunity to get their brand out there,” said Keri Carter Pipkins, assistant director of the Career Center. “They try to draw students in and send them to where they can apply.”

Other social networks aim to connect students directly to a company. Employers can post jobs on Web sites such as LinkedIn and AlwaysIllinois. AlwaysIllinois is open to Illinois students and alumni, while LinkedIn is a national professional job networking Web site, Pipkins said.

“On LinkedIn.com, students can post resumes, and people who have worked with them can write recommendations to have available over the Internet,” Pipkins said.

Many students find jobs through networking, so an online presence gives students an opportunity to form connections, possibly with a future boss, she said.

However, some students are concerned with using informal social Web sites to research and apply for jobs.

“I might use more professional sites, but I would never use Facebook to search for a job,” said Joanna Bienias, sophomore in LAS.

Erin Galligan, sophomore in AHS, said she uses networking sites strictly for socializing and getting involved on campus.

“I wouldn’t even know how to use Facebook or any other online social network to find a real job,” Galligan said.

Some job search engines have Facebook groups that members can join to search for business and internship positions. A few groups include indeed.com, PR Job Watch, The Job Zone and Trovix, Inc. Ernst and Young is very popular on Facebook and other networks, Pipkins said.

“Getting your name out there, in a positive way, definitely has value,” Pipkins said. “If you’re a writer or getting into a field where you feel you have some area of expertise or understanding, blogging and responding to professional network chat boards are a good way to get noticed and form connections.”