Job Boards, Social Media and the Reality of College Grad Recruiting

Last week, released this story about college grad recruiting.

The key takeaways:

  • Companies looking to hire for entry-level roles look to the internet (91%) to advertise to college students and grads, followed by advertising within their company (62%), social media (26%), newspapers (19%) and radio (1%)
  • Companies also indicated “friends and family” and large, general online job boards as the most useful student recruitment tactics (83% and 82%, respectively)
  • Student respondents indicated their top three job search tactics were “friends and family” (78%), large all-purpose job boards (67%) and niche, specialty job boards (65%)
  • Students ranked social media in the middle of their list of effective job search tactics (38%), up from 15% a year ago

What does it all mean?

At first glance, the article seems to support the idea that large, multi-purpose and niche job boards are key to a job search. When I first read the article, I was skeptical.

Since it was data from Monster, I assumed the employers who participated and students they surveyed were people who use their website (the article doesn’t indicate how participants were selected or who they are). Naturally, users of a service like are more likely to provide answers that support the use of a large job board.

I have never been a big fan of all-purpose job boards, unless that approach is supported by a ton of networking. Banking on job boards alone is a crapshoot because those positions are visible to so many people and it’s relatively easy to apply. Typically, you are one applicant in a huge pool of resumes and it’s more difficult to stand out and get noticed.

Yet, recruiters can reach a lot of students via job boards on the internet and a lot of large corporations still use them. In the last year, even during the tough job market, my office has seen our job posting numbers rise.

The best way to maximize a job board is to use a two-prong approach.

  • Reach out to your network and build new relationships, so when you submit your resume to a position on a job board there is someone within the company who knows you. That way someone inside the company already has you on their radar and can advocate on your behalf.

Short-term vs. long-term

The fundamental difference in the two tactics mentioned most in the article – job boards and networking (“friends and family”) – is the timeline. Job boards are immediate while relationship-building is a long-term process and something built over time.

The results of the eMarketer story reflect this: both students and employers rank highly friends, family and colleagues as job search/recruiting resources. It’s been said on this site time and time again, but it bears repeating: the sooner you get started cultivating your network, the better.

The #1 job search and recruiting resource

Though it does not say this outright, the results of the survey demonstrate that the number one asset for any job seeker or recruiter is people.

Job seekers do not get jobs from career fairs, job postings, social media, friends and family, informational interviews, or professional associations… they find opportunities. They get jobs by sealing the deal with their interpersonal and relationship-building skills.

The rise in social media as a job search tool isn’t surprising. It’s one of the most efficient, easy-to-use ways to meet new people and to begin building relationships or to maintain existing ones.

If you are not maximizing those tools, now’s the time to get started or re-examine your strategy. Check out this post or this one for more on using social media effectively and why it’s important.

So, what do you think? Are the highest-ranking methods in the survey the ones campus recruiters are using–or should be using? What job search tactics have worked for you?


Kelly is a career advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she assists undergraduate business students with all aspects of their career development. Connect with Kelly on Twitter, her blog, LinkedIn or BrazenCareerist.

Related posts:

  1. Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search
  2. The Importance of Social Media
  3. Social Media 101: Networking with Twitter

2 Responses to “Job Boards, Social Media and the Reality of College Grad Recruiting”

  1. avatar Andy says:


    Great article. There is a tremendous chart in the infamous book, What Color is Your Parachute? that graphically supports your point. It shows how corporations normally source job candidates and how most people seek jobs. They are at opposite ends!

    Your point about using social media is bang on. It facilitates in person introductions that in turn help people connect to those opportunities.

  2. avatar Reena Gupta says:

    HI Kelly , great post on job board recruiting and social media recruiting, However when it comes to selecting the best candidate, The applicant tracking system is the best and we targetrecruit are the best the job search tactic as it is simultaneously integrated with social media profiles and even with job board portals

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