Online networks may help job-hunting: surveys

TORONTO (Reuters) - Job seekers should tap into online networking sites to help hunt down potential employers, new surveys suggest.

People surf the web during the annual "Campus Party" Internet users gathering in Sao Paulo February 13, 2008. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

The polls, conducted in Canada and the United States on behalf of California-based recruitment firm Robert Half International, showed that most executives believe that professional networking sites will prove useful over the next three years for job seekers.

“Networking sites can be used to identify new career opportunities, create online profiles that highlight one’s skills and experience and build a roster of business contacts over time,” Max Messmer, chairman and chief executive of RHI and author of “Job Hunting for Dummies”, said in a statement.

Of 100 senior Canadian executives interviewed, 67 percent said they thought professional networking sites -- such as LinkedIn -- were useful for recruiting new employees, and 25 percent said they thought social networking sites like Facebook would be useful.

Executives were asked: “Which of the following technology tools do you believe will be most useful in your firm’s recruiting efforts in the next three years?”

In the U.S., 150 senior executives asked the same question by RHI last week showed similar results. Of those polled, 62 percent said professional networking sites were useful for recruiting new employees, and 35 percent said social networking sites were useful.

Although online networking can play a role in helping people to find work, Messmer said job seekers should continue to use traditional job-hunting methods.

“Tried and true methods, such as networking at industry events, submitting well-written resumes and cover letters, and diligently following up with hiring managers are still essential to landing the ideal job,” Messmer said.

RHI provided five suggestions for benefiting from online networking:

* Craft your profile carefully

* Ask for recommendations

* Build your list of contacts

* Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see

* Don’t stop networking once you have a job

Reporting by Julie Mollins; editing by Rob Wilson