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December 05, 2012

Increase Your Hireability on Social Networks

Research this year from NC State University reaffirms what many of us have known for a long time, that social networks greatly impacts the role in finding jobs both in the United States and Europe. Even though 40% of jobs are filled through informal recruitment the researchers found that informal social networks are “significantly more important for high-paying jobs in the United States” than in Germany. Researchers define “informal recruitment” occurring “when a person who is not looking for a new job is approached with a job opportunity through social connections.”

Researchers Richard Benton and Dr. Steve McDonald, a sociology associated professor at NC State suggest that the United States use of social networks, by comparison to Germany, differ in significant ways. Jobs as around $80,000 or an average of $40 per hour will be filled through the use of social or informal networks are 66 percent better than the odds that minimum wage jobs would be filled through informal recruitment. The researchers conclude that the United States values merit over social connections. They make other conclusions and point out that the odds that a job may be filled through informal recruitment increases 2% for every dollar of hourly wage that the job pays.

Especially important for jobseekers and highly confidential executive jobseekers alike, what are five things you can do to improve your status to be found on social networks as a passive candidate or to be informally recruited?

Focus Your Social Network

Focus on connecting your social networks (Linked In, Twitter, Facebook or any other forum) to Thought Leaders, Key Decision Makers, Recruiters, Hiring Managers, Peers and Professionals that are in directly related fields that you are in or interested in now. So many people want to generalize when they should focus their so-called social network to friends. That’s fine but if you want to ensure that you are noticed connect to the connected in your field and industry. Observe the proverbial masses on “social” networks and sometimes it’s a real good idea to do the opposite. For example, if everyone is connecting with their buddies and their social buddy friends, why don’t you focus your network on connecting with the top people in your field socially. Work on making an initial contact with them and getting permission to connect to them on Twitter, Linked In or even Facebook.

Local, National Global in Approach

In the work world of today everything could be called global. Hyper network within your industry and do not let city, state or country borders stop you from connecting to the world. In fact you open up your “social” and professional networks to new ideas when you take a worldwide approach. The more diverse the population of the top talent you network with the better. A lot of people feel like social and professional networks should include people of like interest, location or basic experience. That’s fine. Just about everyone who you went to college with or alumni can be a good, smart connection base on Linked In for example but go further. If you are a financial or biotech executive you need to be in the top financial and biotech groups on Linked In.

Stay Consistent and Confidential

On social networks that emphasize professionalism like Linked In most people need a consistent, professional bio, identity and something that most miss – proper, consistent habits. For example, refine your bio on a monthly basis if you are not in an obvious job search. Add keywords early, key achievements and key phrases that you can gain endorsements on (a relatively new feature for Linked In). Add to your groups and participate in groups with good questions. Do all of this consistently. Work on consistently upgrading the type of connections you make on Linked In. If you are working connect with colleagues, thought leaders and others in your field that will help you do your job better. Find a way to connect, ask questions and build relationships with people that can help you now or in the future. If you are looking for a job you need to positively connect with anyone and everyone who can help you and ask for their perspective or develop the kind of relationship that may help you…and them.

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