The Decline of Happy Hour….

The Decline of Happy Hour….

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….How Social Media Has Changed Career Networking

By Andrew Hall

Career networking-themed events, like happy hours, are still happening all over the world, and people are still going to them. However, it’s fairly likely that the people you know who are going to happy hours for the explicit purpose of networking are people who did it five years (or ten years, or fifteen years) ago. On the other hand, young people are conducting more and more job searches on the internet, rather than in person and working connections made through social networking services.

Face-to-face networking still has substantial value and for many people the face-to-face interaction has value well beyond an entirely electronic one. Despite this, certain online services may be seen as more efficient at the same basic tasks, allowing employers to find individuals with the exact sets of qualifications they’re looking for. This can be done through networking systems like LinkedIn or perhaps remote contracting services, where one’s qualifications are laid out immediately and potential employees undercut themselves in an attempt to see who out of the many applicants will actually land a position.

Social Media

The relationship between Facebook and Twitter and business remains a sticky and difficult one. Most users of those services, especially younger ones, are still struggling with ways to ensure that their Internet presence doesn’t get them fired or prompt a potential employer not to hire them based on photographs or off-color comments made at some point or another. Whether or not these networking services will become a source for potential employer-employee meetings has yet to be seen, though at present it’s far more likely for the opposite to happen.

Over the last half decade, Facebook’s user base has become almost 50% people aged 50 and up, a jump from 18% in September of 2005. This does mean that employers and people well-connected within business (and those who may be able to offer jobs) are now using Facebook and a growing number are using Twitter. This may do little to ease anxiety about job seeking, though, given the aforementioned notes about the fact that many young people’s relationships with Facebook are in many ways more antagonistic than anything else.

Generation Y

Because of these factors, many young people are now choosing to make a statement about themselves by choosing not to participate in social networking at all, requiring that they be contacted by email, by telephone or by text message, or by physical mail. This demographic is going to grow more and more over time as well and their very existence will likely help to preserve the in-person networking meeting as a thing that exists, as there will always be demand for it in some capacity.

For potential employers, this mostly means that while what’s happening now will likely continue to work unless something changes drastically, it is important to be connected and maintain a presence for yourself and your business within the world of social networking. It’s opportunities to advertise to an audience that will see your product and your presence constantly, as well as an easy way to cover all of your bases.

Personal Interaction

What ultimately makes the in-person meeting likely to stay around, despite its inconvenience, is the fact that an in-person interaction is much harder to forget than one conducted entirely over the internet and something that likely won’t go away anytime soon, much like the in-person interview process. While young people may be frequenting them less at the moment, this economy has put value on connections the Internet can’t guarantee.

Author Information

Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on electrician schools for the Guide to Career Education.

Photo Credit: Ivan Freaner

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Categories: Social Media