The job market has changed significantly over the last 20 years, and with it, so too have the hiring methods of employers. Traditionally, it’s been newspapers, industry publications, recruiters, and job boards that have provided the ‘lion’s share’ of new hires for employers. However, since the advent of social media, social networking tools have transformed approaches to recruiting and they are now a primary source of new hire leads for employers and recruiters alike. QUIZ: Do You Have Social Media Career Power? The ability to research a candidate market and approach desired hires directly is an approach that corporate recruiters really love – and see produces great results for their business. While this doesn’t mean that you should abandon looking at job boards and industry publications, it’s ever more important that you also incorporate a social strategy into your job search and work on your personal brand management. The four key networks that you need to have a presence on in my opinion are LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that any social networking site and forum where you post personal information and set up a profile may be publicly searchable. Recruiters these days are using ‘People aggregators,’ which are essentially specialized search engines, allowing recruiters to search hundreds of sites for potential hires. With that in mind be sure to keep your profiles safe for work and tailored towards your respective role or industry. In this post, I am going to cover the main benefits of joining the ‘big four’ social networks to help you improve your job search and networking capabilities. Bear in mind that like any job search strategy, maintaining a presence on a social network can take some time and it’s up to you to decide where you want to spend yours.