I think it’s great that social media platforms are taking a look at the big issues that we currently face and then working towards solution. Hey, if innovation can’t be used for good, in my mind it’s useless. But more on that another day. Given my opinion, you’d think I’d be jumping for joy at the recent announcement that Facebook, the U.S. Department of Labor and an an array of non-profits have launched an initiative to help people find work through social media. However, I am not.
At the heart of the initiative is the launch of a central Facebook page that will host resources designed to help job seekers and employers. Facebook says it will release public service announcements on the site to promote the page in the 10 states with the highest unemployment rate, and Puerto Rico, which has an unemployment rate of 16%. Additionally, it will sponsor research to learn more about the ways job seekers, career centers and recruiters and explore ways to post new jobs virally throughout Facebook, at no charge to employer.
There are a few reasons why this may not work. Mainly, the Facebook brand isn’t established as one that is percieved seriously for broadcasting yourself as a professional. It may have had lofty goals to be that some years back, but it just isn’t today. People go onto Facebook to network with friends and family, not present themselves as professionals. Futhermore, employers use it to spy on potential employees. A recent article via Mashable.com points out that 76% of employers use Facebook to screen candidates (next to Twitter and LinkedIn) and 69% of them reject candidates for what they read on these very same social networks. What that says to me is that Facebook may not be a job seeker’s friend. In fact it may do more hurt than good.
My advice for job seekers? Make the most of LinkedIn, which was built to support you in all things related to jobs. That means you should keep your profile current, make use of updates and network like mad. It truly is one of the best places to feature your work and get recognized for it. Reserve your Facebook profile for pictures of your parakeet.
Facebook, pick an identity and stick to it. I beg of you. And if you want to really resolve the issue of unemployment: 1. Hire more diverse teams; 2. Use your resources to educate 3. Turn down the volume of brands on the platform.