Social networking your way to a job

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Tess Vigeland: Here's an upsidedown way at looking at all the recent layoff news. The stigma is pretty much gone from the pink slip. Now I'm not saying it's fun, but no one is going to bat an eye when they see the entry on your Facebook page, "Hey everyone, change of status. I'm unemployed." This is the first recession, really, since the explosion of social media. As Curt Nickisch reports from WBUR in Boston, people are also using those social networks to get hired.


Curt Nickisch: Dave Atkins was working from home the day his boss called. Company meeting. Half the people at his small Internet startup were going to lose their jobs.

Dave Atkins: I happened to be on Twitter at the time. I said hey, it looks like I'm getting laid off. Immediately people started looking at ways to help me.

He blogged about it, too. He posted his resume and recommendations on a professional networking web site.

Atkins: "Help Dave find work following his layoff," and there's a link to my LinkedIn profile.

Now Atkins spends hours each day at his computer, which chirps with new e-mail and instant messages. He says his job search isn't that different from the old-fashioned way. Networking online just makes it easier.

Atkins: I'm still having lots of meetings with people, but now I think the meetings are better. Because sometimes you just really connect with people through a shared interest that wouldn't be obvious from just cold-calling them on the phone, or just meeting them in person with no context.

According to networking consultant Diane Darling, Atkins has the modern job search down.

Diane Darling: What I call hybrid networking. And it's where you combine online and offline networking.

It helps that Atkins works in tech. But no matter what color your collar, Darling says, social media can help you find opportunities. It also helps employers find out more about you.

Darling: Before Google there was gossip. You had no idea. Now you can get a little better sense of what people are saying. And I think it's important you manage that, your own reputation.

And there's another reason managing the job search could be hard without social networks. Ted Chaloner runs a Boston recruiting firm. He says many companies that are hiring right now, they're not even posting their positions. Because if they do they just get swamped with applications.

Ted Chaloner: Getting it from the thousands and thousands to the 20 or ten or five, I think is the problem that companies are facing.

So in order to find a job, Chaloner says you may have to use social networks just to find a job opening first.

In Boston, I'm Curt Nickisch, for Marketplace.

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