Boomers Get Social in Job Search

The social networking sphere is supposed to be the domain of the young, right?

It’s fair to say that Generations Y and Z have led the way in making new verbs like “Facebook me” and “tweeting” a part of our everyday language. But, there’s no shortage of data showing that older generations—particularly baby boomers—have begun to plug into the social network as well.

And, boomers are doing much more than posting pictures and sharing mundane details of their daily routines, according to a recent poll conducted by Millennial Branding, a Boston-based research and consulting firm, and

The survey of 5,268 job seekers actually found that more baby boomers (29 percent) report using social networks as part of their job search than members of both Generation X (27 percent) and Generation Y (23 percent).

If that statistic surprises you, you’re not alone.

“I was very surprised, for the obvious reasons,” says Dan Schawbel, founder and managing partner of Millennial Branding. “It’s interesting. A lot of people would suspect that it would be a very small number of boomers using social networking.”

A key contributing factor, says Schawbel, could be the large numbers of older job seekers using LinkedIn, the well-known networking site for people in professional occupations.

“For boomers, [LinkedIn] is just easier for them to use. All their connections are using it.”

Indeed, studies put the average LinkedIn user age in the mid-40s, with a mean salary in the six-figure range, he says. “So [many of these users] hold, or are looking for, executive- and director-level jobs.”

So, while most large companies already use social networking for recruiting purposes, this knowledge may help HR professionals make more efficient use of their time when recruiting for the types of top positions typically filled by boomer-age candidates, says Schawbel.

The reality is, if you’re an employer, you have to use all the top social networks. You can’t avoid Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. But this finding shows you that you may use most of your time on LinkedIn for executive recruiting. Recruiters have less and less time these days. So this report tells them where they should spend their time and how.”