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Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are an increasingly important tool in any job search.

As a job seeker, you can publicize your past successes, sign up to receive alerts about relevant jobs in your area, and check out people who work at a potential employer. As an employer, you can check out prospective employees and look for candidate who may fit your needs — even if they are not looking for a job right now. This is called stealth or passive recruiting.

What is stealth recruiting? For example, if an employer wants to hire a chef in the Philadelphia area who speaks French, he has two choices. First, he can advertise the vacancy and receive a large number of applications, perhaps hundreds, from people who meet or nearly meet his requirements. Because the cost of submitting an online application is so low, applicants don’t seriously consider whether they are well qualified, and therefore an employer may receive many applications. Dealing with this flood of applications can be time-consuming (read: expensive) for an employer.

An employer who has premium access to LinkedIn, on the other hand, can comb through LinkedIn members’ profiles, even if they are not currently seeking a job, to find the relatively small number of people who clearly meet all of the job’s criteria. This allows the employer to avoid the time and expense of screening so many applications.

The following four recent articles — three on LinkedIn and one on Facebook — are well worth your time:

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1.) “7 LinkedIn Hacks That Will Help You Get Noticed by Recruiters,” by Marguerite Ward, published March 2017.

“If you maximize your LinkedIn profile, you may not be looking for your next job; it could come find you.” This advice comes from Suzy Welch, a best-selling management author. Welch’s seven suggestions will not surprise those who are diligent about maintaining their LinkedIn profile. But for the casual user, they can make the difference between being found and not being found by a recruiter. For example, include your location. “Recruiters screen by location,” Welch says. “Leaving your location off leaves you out of the running for a lot of jobs.” Also, include your education. Adding your school(s) makes it more likely that hiring managers and former classmates will find you in searches.

2.) “Older Workers Rebuild Professional Networks With the Help of LinkedIn,” by Mary Kane, published March 2017.

Kane focuses on Mark Stein, a communications professional in his late fifties, who, through no fault of his own, needed to find a new job. Social media platforms are not only for the younger generations. Kane cites a Pew Research Center finding that 21 percent of LinkedIn users are 50 to 64 years old, and another eight percent are 65 and older. She details how Stein dramatically improved his LinkedIn profile and made LinkedIn a part of his daily job search routine. He set criteria for notification of job openings and used his connections to learn more about those openings. Using those connections helped him land a job. In one way, your age can be an advantage — after decades in the work force, you (potentially) have a massive network. Kane provides specific suggestions on how to activate your network.

3.) “3 LinkedIn Updates You Need to Know About for 2017,” by Sara McCord, published March 2017.

McCord explains three new features recently rolled out by LinkedIn. They are intended to help users connect more easily with other users, make it easier to navigate someone’s profile, and connect better with recruiters.

4.) “Will Facebook Make Looking for a Job Easier — Or Just More Social?” by Willam Arrude, published April 2017.

Arruda discusses the launch of Facebook’s job board and its implications for passive recruiting. As Arruda notes, Facebook’s reach is astounding (1.9 billion active users), about six times as many as Twitter (about 320 million). It remains to be seen, he concludes, how effectively Facebook will help connect employers to the right applicants and whether it will be an efficient use of time for recruiters and applicants. My own two cents: Facebook may not “get it right” from the outset, but that much brainpower is sure to improve the product over time.

By David Marwick for KempMillJobAssist

 David Marwick is KempMillJobAssist’s workshop coordinator. He studied economics at George Washington University and worked as an economist for George Washington University and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.