Social Networking & Job Seekers: It’s Not a Popularity Contest

Posted on March 30, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Are you like so many other job seekers…on the desperate hunt for more followers and more connections on all the social media networking sites? After all, the more you have, the more you increase your odds of finding a job faster, right?

And certainly the blogosphere is replete with job search advice telling you that social networking is the hot new trend that separates job seekers into two camps: those with connections and those without. And those with the most connections…win?

Aah, so we’re faced with the old quantity versus quality debate once again. Is more really better (or at least as good)? Or maybe in the case of a job search, the better way to phrase the question is as follows: Is popularity on these sites more effective?

Here’s my take:

We all know the old saying that goes something like this: It’s the quality, not the quantity, that matters. Unfortunately, in our society today, that concept has often been lost. We like to talk a lot about quality in all aspects of our lives, from Six Sigma and ITIL quality methodologies in the marketplace to “quality time” with our children and family to quality health/lifestyle practices.

All of this talk is really nice to say and could not be better said; the problem is that quality takes time to nurture, and we live in a fast-paced, want-it-now culture. So how can you truly have quality relationships, products, and lifestyles when you are expecting everything instantaneously?

I used to have a friend who would always say “Fast food isn’t good, and good food isn’t fast.”

When it comes to social networking (or face-to-face networking, for that matter), the same principle applies.

You can rush to build up as many connections as possible, but that doesn’t mean that they will be all that helpful to you. And then you have wasted precious job search time. On the other hand, having the best quality connections makes your job search that much more effective, but it takes time to cultivate.

So what is a job seeker to do? Remember that networking is productive, but you must be strategic about it. Once you’ve tapped into your personal network, begin building connections on social networks with niche people who specialize in your area, have great resources to offer, and provide you with connections to other valuable professionals. Look for group job hunting social networks where you can connect with other job seekers who can profit from your network and vice versa. These methods lead to quality networking results.

Are they fast? No, but neither is the alternative. So you might as well do it right. Besides, establishing a strong network is not just good for this search, but it can be a long-term benefit as well. So in the end, quality wins.

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[…] that it is quality that matters most. (In fact, I’m pretty sure I have written and shared a good amount of content on the […]

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