For many people, applying to online ads can feel a little like playing the lottery. The odds of winning a job are stacked against you. But as job search capabilities and social media converge, that is about to change big time -- and to the job hunters' benefit.
On Tuesday, Facebook Inc. unveiled its new Graph Search tool (pictured above), which will enable users to search friends, and friends of friends, for all kinds of information. Instead of simply directing users to the timelines, Facebook's Graph Search tool will allow users to search "photos," "likes" and comments -- with just simple short phrases, Facebook product manager Kate O'Neill, told ABC News.
At the same time, new web applications like CareerSonar, BeKnown and BranchOut allow job seekers to see who from their social networks are employed at companies that might have job openings for them.
What does this mean for job seekers?
It will be easier to find contacts within companies by allowing users to comb their friend groups for business contacts.
Both job seekers and recruiters will be able to mine data to find out, for instance, who you know that works at a specific company, for instance. As Facebook Graph Search begins rolling out, the site will be able to compete with job search websites like LinkedIn that also make use of social networks, according to The New York Times. (Facebook hasn't responded to requests for an interview.)
"This should change how people use Facebook," Dan Schawbel, the founder of Millennial Branding, said in an interview with AOL Jobs. "The site's no longer just a social network." And that should benefit workers, according to Schawbel, because on Facebook you are looking for jobs among networks of "people who will actually go out of their way to help you."
More than 90 percent of recruiters already check social media websites, Jobvite.com says, but with this new capability, job hunters should begin using Facebook to "build their own brands," Schawbel says. "That could mean posting an interesting article in your field and making a good comment about it.
Last year, a series of websites were also rolled out that offered more data to help job seekers in their search. As was reported by AOL Jobs, sites like Bright.com and Path make use of an algorithm to direct job seekers to specific job openings that they would have the best chances of getting. The tools study a company's hiring tendencies, and the workers' education and employment history.
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