For as long as there have been jobs, people have used their social networks -- like family friends, professors, neighbors and relatives -- to land a job. But now, thanks to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, those networks are easier to access.

We recently conducted an online poll of more than 500 users of one of our social recruiting Web sites,, and found that social networking played a key role in their search for a job or internship. More than a third reported they had posted a general note on their Facebook wall that announced they were looking for work, and 47 percent sent similar news in a personal Facebook message to at least 10 friends. And nearly 80 percent said they would be comfortable with an employer reaching out to them through social media.

Whether you are actively or passively seeking a job, there are advantages to using social media. Here are just a few:

Personal referrals: As I said before, personal connections are paramount, and a referral is the easiest, most effective way to get your resume to the right person. The consulting firm CareerXroads Inc. has found that recruiters made one hire for about every 10 referrals they received, a much higher rate than those who were hired from online job boards where recruiters report looking at an average of 219 applications per position, the Wall Street Journal recently reported.

Targeted communities: Social media allows you to become actively involved with a specific professional community, share news, learn about the industry, build influence and establish relationships with your peers. Over time, this could lead to potential employment opportunities. If you want a company to notice you, follow its corporate Twitter feed, subscribe to its blogs and become its Facebook fan. And it doesn’t hurt to talk positively about the company on your social media channels.

Office culture sneak-peek: Actively conversing, sharing and engaging through social media will help lift the HR corporate veil to reveal the true corporate culture. If you feel like you fit in, your job will likely be more satisfying.

Are you preparing for a summer internship and have questions about finding housing, assembling a professional wardrobe, upping your Facebook settings and anything else internship related? Then check out Jenna’s weekly online chat, Campus Overload Live, this Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern.