Are you on Facebook? A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine posted an update saying that she was trying out CareerAmp, a new Facebook app. My friend also happens to be a University Career Counselor so I thought I would try it out, too. If you use Facebook, consider adding this new app to your profile. You may already be active in LinkedIn, a social media tool dedicated to professional networking, and now you can explore how your Facebook friends are connected to career fields and employers. CareerArc Group LLC developed CareerAmp as a social recruiting tool and hopes to link job seekers and college students with employers and internship sponsors.
Employers are increasingly using social media as part of their overall recruiting strategy. Meeting employers online can be a way to get the employment conversations started. The Society for Human Resource Management's 2011 Survey of Social Networking Websites and Staffing [PDF] found that 56% of employers are currently using social media for recruiting and another 20% have plans to engage potential employees with social media in the future. This study also found that 58% of those using social media are using Facebook.
Finding a job may also be who you know. Have you ever gotten a job because someone you knew recommended or referred you to the employer? According to a recent study by CareerXRoads.com [PDF] "nearly 65% of all openings are filled through internal movement and referrals." This report also indicates that almost 30% of external hires were the result of referrals. While the numbers may vary by region and industry, there is no denying the power of networking in the job search process.
Features and Functions of Career Amp
With over 20,000 current users, this new app is off to a good start and encourages you to "see where your friends work, build a professional network, [and] access great companies." CareerAmp hopes to capitalize on "it's who you know" by helping you find out more about the potential employer connections already in your group of Facebook friends, and in your friends' group of friends. It's in beta, which means the developers are still fine-tuning, but it's up and running. You'll find a variety of features and functions including:
- Contests and Quizzes – a built-in game called My Fantasy Company encourages contact with your friends about their professions and employer connections. Related quizzes also involve getting to know your friends better in a professional networking context.
- Searchable Database – connections with existing companies, as well as job and internship posting sites, allow you to search for openings within this Facebook app.
- Connections and Conversations – the Facebook Fan Page and App format allow you to join in discussions, ask questions, and share information.
Take a look at this CareerAmp introduction video posted on YouTube for more about what the app hopes to accomplish: helping you network with friends who have connections in the places where you want to work.
You'll need to add the app to your Facebook profile to fully engage in the various features it offers. Go to the CareerAmp page and sign in with your Facebook account. Take a close look at the privacy announcements before agreeing to allow the connection. Once you are logged in, the main menu then offers the following options for you to navigate the available information:
- Home: Shows a list of any of your friends who may already be using CareerAmp and provides an opportunity to invite other friends to participate.
- Profile: Use this feature to set up your CareerAmp profile by answering a few basic questions related to your work interests – jobs/internships, location, and industry categories.
- Connections: Draws on information your friends have already provided in their profiles, including current and past employment.
- Opportunities: A list of vacancies based on the information and profile preferences you have entered. You can also sort and search this list. By clicking "view" you can find out more about each position, the requirements for application, and link to a company profile. By clicking on "apply" you are taken to the sponsoring site or company's webpage for more application information and submission.
- Coffee Break: Games and quizzes designed to be fun and informal as you make connections with your friends via CareerAmp.
Additional features of the app include posting CareerAmp links to your Facebook wall and to your friends' walls. You can also ask the CareerAmp folks a question on their wall. Several user questions and CareerAmp responses are already visible here. A discussion board is also set up, but not heavily used, yet. Why not start a new topic and begin a conversation?
Making the App Work for You
The CareerAmp app is new, but definitely has some potential for growth and use in your search for job and internship opportunities. Here are a few of the benefits and challenges I see at this point.
- Expanding your career network is a good thing and this app offers another free tool to help you do that.
- If you are already using Facebook it is easy to add this app to your existing profile – set up your CareerApp preferences and get started.
- While your friends' employment information may already be visible in their profiles, CareerAmp provides a central place to access and a way to visualize all of these employment connections.
- This app offers a way to find out about your friends' and family members' connections without having to approach each person individually. It gives you a head start and a way to begin a more in-depth conversation with those who may be able to help you.
- As with any site, you'll want to assess the information provided. Take the time to evaluate the source, purpose, currency, and content of the information and listings.
- Is your Facebook profile ready for professional networking? If it is not currently providing the online image you would like to portray, consider modifying before engaging in CareerApp or other professional networking activities with this account.
- This app is really new, so the number of positions at this point may be more limited than on other sites. You may also experience some of the growing pains of a new app's navigation and programming.
- The information available about your friends' employment connections is based on the information they have all provided. The degree of "openness" of your friends will likely affect how much information you are able to find with the app.
As an online student you are already gaining skills with technology, virtual communication, and networking. New tools and applications, such as CareerAmp, allow you to extend these skills to your career exploration and job search efforts – using social media to discover employment options and find existing job openings. Are you using social media as part of your job search? Whether you have tried CareerAmp or another resource, consider sharing your feedback here.