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Social media PI Credit: Justin Cohen , Photo illustration by Justin Cohen

Procrastinating on Facebook might not be as bad as students think. According to recent market research, it might even lead to a job offer.

A study released by Bullhorn Reach, a division of the recruiting software company Bullhorn Inc., reveals that social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are set to become important recruitment tools for employers.

The number of recruiters on Twitter is expected to quadruple this year, thanks in part to the launch of new business pages on the website, according to the study.

Job applicants are also increasingly utilizing social media. LinkedIn’s website showed that students and recent college graduates, as of Dec. 31, 2011, became the fastest growing demographic using their service.

Shannon Kelly, an associate director at Career Services, believes these social media websites are good opportunities for students to establish career networks. “Tapping your networks is really important for finding jobs and internships,” she said. “There are over 20,000 members in the Penn Alumni group on LinkedIn,” adding that tapping into the base is “one of the greatest assets Penn has to offer.”

Kelly also felt that companies have realized the benefits of social media websites for recruiting students. “More and more companies are using social media platforms to showcase business culture … It’s no different from hiring a Public Relations company,” she said.

“It’s about who you know. Your network is what really gives you the leg up on someone else, particularly with today’s economic situation,” she added.

Talia Goldberg, a College and Wharton junior, agreed with Kelly. Goldberg, who organized “How to Get a Job at a Start-up” last month, felt that social media websites are important ways to be noticed by a recruiter. “LinkedIn is a way to showcase who you are,” she said. “Twitter will give employers a sense of everything that you are doing. I don’t think people leverage resources to the level they provide,” she added.

Wharton sophomore Kenji Tulman was unconvinced about the value of using websites such as LinkedIn, however. With the prevalence of On-Campus Recruiting and the ease of traveling to meet a recruiter in person, he felt social media websites provided few extra opportunities to Penn students. “I don’t see it as a sustainable way to recruit people,” he said. “Just because you have a connection online, it doesn’t mean people will hire you,” he added.

Wharton junior Jacob Schulman had a different experience. Schulman found two internships through Twitter over the past year. “I was following an angel investor in New York that I liked, and he happened to tweet out a job posting,” he said. A week later, he had a summer internship offer from the start-up Hunch, a website that makes product recommendations based on users’ tastes.

Later, Schulman received an email directly from the CEO of Dancing Astronaut, a music media company that had noticed Schulman was following the business on Twitter. “He said that they had noticed the tech blog I was writing for at the time,” Schulman said. “The CEO said that the company would love to have me,” he added.

Schulman admitted that his experience was not the norm. “I wasn’t proactively searching for jobs, I was just following companies that I liked,” he said. “I kind of fell into these jobs by accident,” he added.

“The fact that I got two jobs is absurd. It’s very, very rare,” he said. But perhaps it is a sign of a growing trend.

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