For many, networking involves an unfamiliar terrain. Months ago, I was frustrated by the ineffectiveness and lack of personality that was too common in my job search. Since most companies get inundated with requests for interviews, they choose to standardize the candidate screening process (no secret). In addition, it’s proven that hiring managers are more likely to hire applicants they feel more comfortable with, usually individuals to whom they’ve been referred from inside their network. This is a large issue in the labor market.
I found out quickly; the only worthwhile interviews I ever had, when looking for a job, were when I had been referred by a “friend-of-a-friend.” As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but rather who you know. To help the Facebook generation get a head start, a new startup launched tomorrow: In the Door is yet another job board aggregator, but it meshes available job openings across the online hiring landscape with the individuals connected in your social graph. Though it isn’t yet entirely robust, it will show you opportunities where you may know someone on the inside. Finally! Professional networking is on autopilot!
It is important to leverage this new tool, In the Door, but don’t stop there. The best likelihood for finding new opportunities is through reaching out and meeting new people. As individuals, we are embedded in social graphs – meaning it is difficult to deliver oneself from unemployment or other economic disparages, simply because better opportunities aren’t necessarily being created within an immediate universe of connections. According to social theory, the most important source of new knowledge is through “weak” connections, such as “friends-of-friends.” It takes active networking to seek out these individuals, to find new information, and to gain access to new opportunities. Invest your time in speaking with professionals in your desired field(s), and always ask for someone else they recommend you speak with next. Doing so will expand your network exponentially, hopefully placing you on the doorstep of the right opportunity.
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