Social media has transformed our lives by helping us connect with friends, share content, shop, research information and … job-hunt? To some, Facebook and professional-network building may seem counterintuitive. Why would you want to blend your ridiculous after-hours party photos with your ever-so-serious future employer? More importantly, is it possible for your social and professional worlds to blend harmoniously? Rather than running, hiding and disabling your social profiles, use this new technology to your advantage, and streamline your job hunt. (See the Top 5 Mistakes Job Hunters Make.)

According to a recent Jobvite survey of 800 human resource professionals, 89% of employers will recruit in social networks this year. Believe it or not, 80% of these respondents already do.

Social recruiting goes beyond platforms like Monster, Craigslist and online job posting. Instead, the technology allows people to leverage their social connections for a more robust job search. Here are six platforms with the potential to transform your career search:

Blogs
These online publications feature more than good writing. Revolving around high-quality content, blogs provide communities for people to share industry resources. Many niche-focused blogs also feature job bulletins for full-time, part-time and freelance work. Using blogs, you can also research front-runners and small startups in your industry.

Twitter
You may think of Twitter as a platform for conversations and chatter, but 140-character tweets are more than what initially meets the eye. Twitter is a powerful platform for quick distribution of information, and many independent recruiters use Twitter to connect with candidates and distribute job postings. Rather than spend hours looking for listings, Twitter can bring the information to you. Beyond providing a resource for information, Twitter is also helpful for networking and connecting with people based on common interests. Next time you're browsing your favorite hashtag channel, keep an eye out for some new people companies. You never know who you'll meet and what you'll find.

InTheDoor.com
It's an age-old saying that your personal network is one of the most powerful resources for finding a job. InTheDoor.com is a startup that has developed that idea into a robust job-seeking platform. In three steps, professionals can locate job openings at their friends' companies: (1) you log in through Facebook, (2) you see what companies are hiring and (3) you review specific job openings in the cities of your choice. By aggregating results from popular job search engines like indeed.com, InTheDoor.com keeps results comprehensive and up to date.

TweetMyJobs.com
Owned and operated by the CareerArc group, this socially driven tool integrates Twitter and Facebook into a job hunting tool. Employers can post listings across social networks, and job seekers can locate positions by geography. If you're interested in looking for jobs through Twitter, TweetMyJobs.com can help you pinpoint company accounts worth following. The platform will also share your resume across social networks to help employers find you. In addition to providing networking services, if you're an avid Twitter user, TweetMyJobs.com can match you with job search Twitter feeds based on your industry and location of choice.

LinkedIn
With more than 130 million members from all over the world, this social network means business. Navigating discussion groups, company pages, job search features and personal profiles, people can find jobs, learn about companies, meet new people and maintain contacts. Believe it or not, some recruiters actively patrol LinkedIn for prospective hires. For this reason, it's worth putting effort into a profile that you actively maintain.

TopProspect.com
For businesses, recruiting can be an expensive process. Understanding these logistics, TopProspect.com crowdsources the referral process to help employers find strong talent. Users can refer their Facebook and LinkedIn connections to open positions. As if helping a friend isn't valuable enough, referrers are eligible to receive compensation if the hiring process concludes successfully.

The Bottom Line
Social media exemplifies how the job-hunting process is an area where art meets science. If you're looking for a job, remember to stay creative and leverage social recruiting platforms to their fullest potential. As has been said many times, it's who you know that could make the most valuable impact.

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