Yesterday the topic of LinkedIn worked its way into a conversation I had with one of my relatives. He said that he didn’t know anyone who got a job through LinkedIn. The social media site would not still be in existence, I believe, if not one of the 135 million profiles in the website did not generate a job. Besides, I knew of people who had gotten jobs through the site and who had hired people from the site.
Surprisingly, though, LinkedIn is not the main source for finding a job. Jobvite, a Burlingame, California, recruiting website, commissioned a national survey Social Job Seekers Getting Ahead to find out where people throughout the country were finding their jobs. The results in an article More get Jobs on Facebook than LinkedIn, Twitter written by Chromwell Schubarth (Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, November 16, 2011) showed that “more than 22 million Americans used social networks to find their most recent job opportunity—up 7.7 million from a survey done last year.”
In addition, “When asked which social network they used in their job search, 78 percent (18.4 million said they got a job by using Facebook, while 40 percent (10.2 million) cited LinkedIn and 42 percent (8 million) cited Twitter.” Interesting!
Today I received an e-mail from LinkedIn stating that 42 of my 165 connections changed jobs in 2011—or at least started something new. The message included images of the people in my network so that all I had to do once I signed-in to LinkedIn was to click on the image to find out what was new with my contacts.
Around this same time, I was reading “The Real Way to Build a Network,” a book excerpt in the February 6, 2012 issue of Fortune, and learned that the ‘Magic Number’ of connections is 150 because it is “the maximum number of people with whom most humans can have active relationships” according to Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist. “Businesses and military groups tend to organize in groups that size as well.” So what do I do? Stop connecting with people? Eliminate some connections since they are no longer active?
Reading the excerpt from the book The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by authors Reid Hoffman, a partner at Greylock and founder and executive chairman at LinkedIn, and Ben Casnocha, an award-winning entrepreneur and author, helped to clarify how to network with more than 150 connections.
Three Degrees of Networking
Although it is Silicon Valley and techie oriented, I found many interesting and thoughtful ways on how to network more effectively reading the book excerpt. For instance, there are transactional networkers who want relationships with those who can do something for them. And there are what the authors call relationship builders, people who first try to help others.
The writers state that “Building a genuine relationship with another person depends on at least two abilities.” Those abilities are seeing the world from another person’s perspective and “being able to think about how you can collaborate with and help the other person rather than thinking about what you can get.”
The most important people in a network are between five to 10 close allies—which are different than relationships. Specifically, “An ally is someone you consult regularly for advice,….you proactively share and collaborate on opportunities together,….you talk up an ally,.…you defend him and stand up for his reputation,….and he does the same for you.”
Instead of six degrees of separation, Hoffman and Casnocha suggest that, “When it comes to meeting people who can help you professionally, three degrees of separation is what matters. That’s how trust is preserved.” And the best way to network is working with the people you already know. There is a lot of common sense here such as “Anytime you want to meet a new person in your extended network, you should ask for an introduction.”
The article on “The Real Way to Build a Network” is definitely worth reading. Just be certain to include “Reid’s Rules,” an assessment of how you, too, can create a wide and (selectively) deep network.