The more you like your job, the more you should network. If you have a great job, you probably have a lot to offer people. Do all your favors now, when you don’t need any in return. The problem with networking to get a job is that you are not that attractive when you need a job. Who wants to network with unhappy people?

Recently I interviewed a bunch of recruiters for my column, and they were absolutely gung-ho about social networking. Recruiting advisor John Sullivan told me that referred candidates have a 50% higher retention rate than candidates who come to the company via a job site. To land that referral, he recommended, among others, LinkedIn.

This surprised me. In the past, I have delete emails from people who ask me to be in their network. I never considered that the networks were so useful.

So I took the advice of the recruiters and I checked out LinkedIn. I was immediately impressed. To get a job, if you are qualified for the job, all it really takes is a third-party connection. I was shocked at how quickly the world opens up to you with a social networking site. And I was surprised by how much we can help each other by offering up our networks to friends in a searchable, useful way.

My first instinct was to search for who has the most contacts, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that. So I filled out a cursory profile, which the recruiters say is a no-no. (You should fill it out in great detail so people know what you have to offer.) Then I started trying to figure out who I knew that would be on the site.

The first few names I tried did not work. But that was because I tried the people I’d be most comfortable asking to be in my networks (it’s a request that seems a little weird to me, still). Instead, I started trying the email addresses of the people I know who are comfortable with technology and good at networking, and the first four names I tried were listed.

One is Dylan Tweney. After about an hour of dealing with LinkedIn, I had four contacts. Dylan has 150. I asked him how he does it, and he said he sent email to everyone on his email list. I had contact envy. There were some people who have more than 500 contacts. I wondered how they did it.

Then I heard that the CEO of Linkedin — who has more than 500 contacts — will not speak to analysts unless they can get to his network. One senior banker at a top firm has been trying for months. It gives me hope: It seems that people who have large networks are not those who make the most money, it’s those who offer the most to their friends.

2 replies
  1. William Mitchell, CPRW
    William Mitchell, CPRW says:

    I’ve been working on my LinkedIn network lately and have come to really enjoy the process. You can join various groups and get access to conversations that will truly broaden your knowledge base. Along with being a great networking tool, it can be an excellent informational resource.

    William Mitchell, CPRW
    The Resume Clinic

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