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Online Social Networks Boost Opportunities for Young Job Seekers

London, 18 June 2009 - A third of employers now use social networking sites to connect with potential recruits meaning it's not what you know but how you promote yourself on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn that counts.

Research by global recruitment consultants Harvey Nash and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveals that, in a bid to boost traditional recruitment methods and reach out to a wider pool of talent, social networks are increasingly becoming a mainstream recruitment tool.

Half of employers believe that if candidates invest time in developing a strong online brand using social networks and networking online, they are more likely to be hired.

Almost a quarter of employers routinely use sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn as part of their recruitment processes. Fifteen per cent said they would miss key new recruits if they didn't tap into to social networks.

Matthew Garratt, HR Manager for figleaves.com said:

"At figleaves.com social network sites like LinkedIn and Facebook have become absolutely critical in finding new hires. Not only do they give us access to people who we might not find elsewhere, but they are also an excellent way to understand more about the candidate beyond just their CV. Certainly for figleaves.com, job seekers who have a strong online presence do stand out from the crowd, and we would encourage more people to invest in their online 'brand'."

However, young jobseekers could be missing out on certain opportunities by failing to pick up on this trend. Although 92 per cent of online 18-24 year olds are registered on a social networking site, just one in 10 (12%) agreed they currently use these sites to get job leads or make useful career contacts.

Commenting on the potential of social networking in a tough jobs market, social networking expert, Dan Rutherford, said:

"Employers are increasingly looking for new recruits who have a strong online brand."

"A good place to start is with your Facebook profile. Use it as a personal ad detailing your skills and qualifications. You could even post your CV in hope that it catches the eye of a prospective employer. Now it's time to start working your profile. Nobody will see your CV unless you point them in the right direction. You can do this by searching interest groups and joining any that match your skills or experience. It can be a great way of making useful contacts and networking within relevant fields."

"Twitter is another great way of networking and keeping track of employers that are actively recruiting. Lots of employers post job openings on Twitter and by letting your followers know your employment situation they might be able to pass on job leads that you weren't aware of."

Rob Grimsey, Strategic Development Director of Harvey Nash, said: "As UK employers continue to face difficulties recruiting, it's staggering that 44% of employers think social networking will only become important in the future. What they need to realise is professional networking has already begun and is here to stay; just ask the one-third of employers who are successfully doing it right now."

"While real-world networking and traditional job services remain invaluable, web savvy job seekers should act now to gain the competitive edge as online networking helps jobseekers stay well connected and get career-informed"

"Peer-to-peer relationships, nurtured online and offline, are at the heart of the 'new' recruitment experience. It is essential for job seekers to wisen up to how employers are looking for candidates in order to remain competitive."

Harvey Nash offers the following tips on how job searchers can use their online profile to attract employers:

- If you decide to use Facebook for professional networking, take a close look at your profile and decide what you want business contacts or prospective employers to see - and what you don't!
- Sign-up to Linked-In if you haven't already
- Track potential employers and recruitment consultancies on Twitter
- Don't leave a blank or incomplete profile. A full profile gives people the best opportunity to get to know you.
- Post content relevant to your job search but limit the photos you post.
- Network strategically - connect to people who can help with your job search.
- Think about joining interest groups which fit your field of interest.
- Finally, don't limit activity to online social networks. It's useful to speak to recruitment agencies with expertise in your local labour market. You can also view Britain's largest database of job vacancies at www.direct.gov.uk/backtowork to see who's recruiting in your area.

Expand your social network to Harvey Nash. Visit us here on Facebook today!

Notes to Editors

1. Polling of 1,224 young people, across Great Britain, aged 18-24 years on their attitudes towards social networking was carried out online by YouGov between 22nd and 26th May 2009 combined with a joint DWP and Harvey Nash online survey of 208 employers across Great Britain between 22nd and 29th May 2009.

2. Harvey Nash is a global professional recruitment consultancy and IT outsourcing service provider, is committed to delivering the very best talent and IT solutions to a broad base of international clients. The Group is a trusted advisor to some of the world's leading business, governments and institutions. Operating from 38 offices covering the USA, Europe and Asia, its talented professionals pursue the highest levels of integrity and quality in providing a unique portfolio of services: executive search, interim management, IT and finance recruitment and IT outsourcing. www.harveynash.com.

3. Dan Rutherford is Head of Marketing at award-winning digital communications agency Outside Line. Outside Line are a full service digital agency specialising in creative production and digital marketing for a range of consumer brands and entertainment clients. Outside Line has vast experience of working within social media and its overall use as part of the marketing mix.