By Barbara Kiviat
Monday, Jun. 08, 2009
Brian Ward lost his job on a Friday afternoon. Eleven days later he had a new one. With nearly 1 in 10 people out of work and the typical job search lasting 12 weeks, how did the Cleveland-based software architect pull it off? In a phrase: online social networking.
Welcome to the new rules of the job hunt. Gone are the days of simply posting your résumé on CareerBuilder, e-mailing former colleagues and trolling company websites for open slots. These days, if you’re serious about being hired, you really put your computer and PDA to work. That means getting word out on social sites like Facebook and MySpace, sending instant job-search updates via messaging feeds like Twitter, and meeting new people who might be able to lend a hand through Web-networking outfits like LinkedIn and Ryze.(See 10 ways Twitter will change American business.)
Why? Because for all our technology, the best way to land a job is still by having someone who already works at a company mention your name. Each year, the staffing consultancy CareerXroads surveys large firms about where they find new hires, and since at least 2005 the top spot has held steady: some 27% come from referrals. (Job boards, by comparison, have fed firms a consistent 12% of new hires; the rest come from recruiters, company websites, etc.) The difference today is that a lot more of those recommendations start with connections made through online networks. A recent report by market researcher Nielsen found that people now spend more time using social networking sites than they do personal e-mail. (Read “Your Facebook Relationship Status: It’s Complicated.”)