Job Seekers Get to Pound the Pavement on Facebook

The U.S. Department of Labor and Facebook are collaborating on an initiative that they hope will link more unemployed people with potential employers — a job search page on Facebook.

Also participating in this initiative are the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, DirectEmployers Association and the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The page also highlights available training programs and educational opportunities. As part of the initiative, Facebook is committing to drive traffic to the page through targeted online public service announcements displayed to users in areas with high unemployment.

The participants will also conduct survey research about how job seekers, college career centers and workforce recruiters are using the social Web. Other areas of exploration include how job postings can be shared on Facebook and other social websites, and how to best distribute materials to recruiters, government agencies and job seekers about the utility of the social Web.

“We are very excited about this announcement but it is only the beginning,” Labor Department spokesperson David Roberts told the E-Commerce Times. “We plan to bring on additional partners as well as expand it to other social network sites.”

One such site might be LinkedIn, he agreed, but he was unable to give a timeline for any additional announcements related to this initiative.

Potential Impact

With an unemployment rate that has remained stubbornly and painfully high, any initiative aimed at connecting the jobless to jobs is welcome. However, a quick check of the math can be deflating. Simply put, there are 14 million unemployed people and 3 million unfilled job openings.

Some of the unemployed will not be helped by the Facebook-Labor initiative. These are likely to be people who have a skills gap or cannot easily move to another part of the country for work, Bullhorn CEO Art Papas told the E-Commerce Times.

However, there is a certain pocket of unemployment that can be attributed to poor information flow.

“Social media is helping to improve that,” noted Papas. “Specifically, it’s helping job seekers find ways to connect more directly with employment opportunities through shared connections rather than through impersonal channels such as blindly submitting a resume to a general email address. “

The new Facebook page, he continued, might not be creating new jobs, “but it is certainly helping companies and candidates find each other and, hopefully, find a fit.”

Information Overload

Job seekers who are continually surfing the Internet and job boards might not consider themselves to be victims of a “poor information flow,” but they probably are, said Stacie Berdan, author of the e-book, Go Global! Launching an International Career Here or Abroad.

It’s called “information overload,” and it is endemic in a society that is connected 24-7, she told the E-Commerce Times.

For that reason, “the partnership between Facebook and the U.S. Dept. of Labor will build critical bridges between job seekers and employers,” she predicted. “The recruitment process will become much more efficient for both. Friends, family and career counselors will be able to share relevant postings and be on the lookout for job seekers.”

Adding Facebook to the mix is ingenious, she said. ” Depending on the size of one’s social network, a job seeker may have 1,000 to 5,000 additional pairs of eyes looking out — that will make a huge difference.”

The downside is that it only covers U.S. jobs, said Berdan. “It would be terrific if Facebook could take this partnership to another level for global jobs. If you take a look at the high levels of growth in developing markets, many young people should consider looking outside the U.S. for a job.”

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