Career Center Blog

December 18, 2013

Use social media as a job-hunting tool, not a crutch


Over the weekend, my Facebook newsfeed was inundated with friends sharing a story on Mashable about someone who got a job using Instagram.

I spent the next 45 minutes doing damage control, answering multiple questions from people who wanted to do away with their resumes and pursue their dream job using only social media. I say "damage control" because until federal regulations change, the majority of companies will still require a standardized method of application, such as a resume, that objectively assesses candidates and matches them to jobs.

As people launch job searches in the New Year, they need to understand that while social media can be used to make themselves attractive to prospective employers, it can't replace a resume. It can be tempting to use unorthodox methods to catch the eyes of employers, but I'd like to make a case for candidates to work with the process instead of trying to "improve" something that exists for valid reasons.

Of course, social media has a place in job seeking. Many companies are using social platforms to publicize their jobs, create positive employer branding campaigns, and connect with potential candidates and industry referral sources. In the past year, I have interviewed many candidates in which my initial contact was via social media. I hired one candidate I found this way, because the others lacked the necessary technical acumen.

Being creative enough to develop an online brand can certainly help bring you to the attention of those making hiring decisions, but it is a mistake to believe you can circumvent established processes when job seeking. Believe me when I say that recruiters would love to be able to hire someone based on nothing more than a creative profile online, but one of the reasons that companies have HR departments is to ensure that they aren't breaking the myriad laws that protect job seekers and hiring organizations alike.

Systems are close to connecting recruiters and applicants more seamlessly, but they don't negate the need for applicants to target a resume and apply for a specific job.

Kristen Fife is a Seattle-area recruiter, mentor and blogger. Email her at

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Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Kristen Fife Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."


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