Social Networking Boosts Odds of Landing Work

Social networking usually trumps all the traditional ways of searching for jobs. That's because social networking relies on acquaintances or what theorists in social networking call "weak ties."

Back in the 1970s, it was graduate student Mark Granovetter who made the amazing discovery that it was people we barely knew who knew about the job opening and that those jobs were perfect for us. That was and is because of three reasons.

One, the weak ties in social networking were outside our usual professional networks so they had access to information our colleagues didn't have.

Two, they didn't pigeon-hole you the way those who knew you well did. For example, your colleagues might view you as solely a writer. Joe the security guard where you go to the dentist might have spotted the sales tiger in you. A job in sales in his building opens up and he tells you.

And, three, as Malcolm Gladwell explains in his article "Small Change" in THE NEW YORKER, social networking bypasses all those traditional rules, procedures and power structures of your usual organizations. That flexibility or what you might think of as a loosey-goosey world of employment opportunities boosts the odds of landing work.

No, you shouldn't stop contacting the career placement office at your alma mater or where some state agency referred you. But you might consider being more, well, loosey-goosey about communicating with everyone online and offline about your need for work. My first job in communications came from Sally at the Deli whose relative worked at a university with an opening in media relations.

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