A growing number of employers are planning to make better use of social networking sites as a recruiting tool, a recent study shows.

More than a third of 150 recruiters surveyed nationwide said they would tap into sites like Facebook and Myspace to scan profiles of job applicants, according to Robert Half International, a Menlo Park-Calif.-based staffing firm. Another 62 percent said they would turn to more professional networking sites like LinkedIn. By contrast, video resumes and Second Life were considered less important for finding new talent.

"Maintaining and developing professional contacts has always been a vital job search strategy, and networking websites are another vehicle for doing so," Max Messmer, the firm's CEO, said in a statement. "Networking sites can be used to identify new career opportunities, create online profiles that highlight one's skills and experience, and build a roster of business contacts over time," he said.

Messmer added that despite the findings, job seekers shouldn't ignore the continued importance of real-world networking events, interviews and carefully written application materials. Instead, he said they should strive to combine personal and online approaches.