How to Use Social Media on Your Summer Job Search

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's a competitive jobs landscape, no doubt about that.

Besides the millions of Americans who are out of work but looking for a job, the career services firm Jobvite.com says 51% of employed workers are "either actively seeking or open to a new job."

To gain an edge, job-seekers have to leverage any way they can to get noticed by hiring managers. Right now, with one big exception, there really is no better way to land a new job than to wage a smart social media campaign.

According to Jobvite, 40% of new hires say they got their job through "personal connections," proving classic networking has value -- but social media ranks second, with 21% of new hires saying it was the most significant factor in getting hired, followed by online job boards (20%) and classified ads (19%).

Employers are big on using social media to find job applicants. Jobvite reports that 94% of U.S. companies used social media to recruit and hire employees last year (at 94%, LinkedIn was far and away the most popular site used by hiring managers.)

Managers say they value "professional experience" and "specific hard skills" when looking for job prospects on LinkedIn, while they used Facebook and Twitter to evaluate "cultural fit" and "industry-related posts."

"A social media presence such as LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook is important for anyone seeking employment because most companies are using these sites to promote their brand," says Jayne Mattson, a senior vice president at Keystone Associates, a Boston career management consulting firm. "Recruiters, hiring managers and human resources managers go to social media to see what they can find out about potential candidates."

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