The New Media Institute (NMI) is a research and fact finding organization whose mission is to improve public understanding of issues surrounding the Internet and other forms new media communications. NMI works directly with the news media, researchers, academics, government and industry professionals and serves as a primary resource of facts, statistics and analysis.

Internet Job Hunting - Utilizing Social Media

Anyone who has spent more than an hour online in search of a job or looking for a friend can attest to the vastness of the digital world. Yet, it is debatable whether most people accept that, in fact, the Internet is a much larger entity than we ever conceived of. The Internet is a digital social network connecting people through the web pages they establish and the links they post. It is the links that are posted on the web that connect people to one another as nodes in the vast digital network. Most people have heard of the concept of six-degrees of separation but achievements in network mapping have provided evidence that people are actually more closely linked to one another than six degrees. The impact this has on our understanding of the job-hunting market is that we now have proof that people are much more closely connected through one another to potential jobs than through individual pursuits of potential jobs.

There is strong evidence to suggest that most of the jobs people obtain through their social relations come from acquaintances on the periphery of their social networks rather than their close friends (close friends tend to know the same people where as loose acquaintances tend to know friends their other friends dont.) What this all means for the digital job-seeker is that it not only makes sense to use the ever-growing social network found on the Internet to map out your network of friends, but it can be an incredibly efficient tool in searching for potential jobs which a person could be connected to through the Internet

Research attempts at mapping and understanding the Internet have shown that bulk of websites on the Web go relatively unnoticed because of a limited amount of links from these underappreciated websites to other websites. It isnt just that unnoticed webpages lack adequate direct links to other websites, but that these sites lack links to the big hubs of the Internet (high-traffic websites like Google, Myspace, Yahoo, etc.). So in order to take advantage of the Internet, people have to link themselves into the big hubs. Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, Naymz, Friendster, and others are the hubs which allow users to make contact with other users and potential jobs through the digital network, this accounts for the popularity of such sites in recent years, and it is no surprise that the pioneering social network site Myspace is consistently rated one of the top most visited websites.

Most people now know that these websites allow users to upload profiles of themselves in order to make contact with other users but people are beginning to discover that many of these online social networking sites have pages for the specific purpose of using your social network to for career advantages. Myspace has job postings allowing users to take their network connections a step further and establish potential career relationships through its web job-postings.

Linkedin allows career oriented individuals to post a formal job-centered profile of themselves online which is searchable without an account from most search engines, simply type a persons name into Google and if they have a Linkedin account it will often show up in the results pages. More so than Myspace and Facebook, Linkedin is geared for professionals and highlights resume aspects like education, job experience, and skills providing an easily accessible online professional profile. Facebook, though geared more for a younger college and recently graduated age group, has shown itself to be a valuable social network for job-seekers and some companies have even started to take advantage of this valuable network by formally and informally acknowledging the site. This is apparent in cases like the firm Ernst & Young which has its own Facebook profile.

Though the these social networks offer a vast resource some things posted on the Internet can come back to haunt you. The pitfalls of such interconnectedness of the Internet is that a bad decision on what to post can directly effect ones personal and professional life. Often, companies will use these networks to evaluate potential or current employees.

Postings on Myspace and Facebook seen by prospective employers can have unfortunate consequences if a prospective or current employee has made poor decisions about what content to make public through these networks. The use of companies to evaluate potential employees partially through their Internet profiles is not necessarily a question of judging a potential employees character or ethical decisions, but is often looked at as an indicator of a persons decision making capacity. If a potential employee posts an inappropriate picture or comment on their profile it reflects poorly on their wisdom because it is easily accessible from outside the persons immediate social networks.

The Internet provides vast social networking capabilities because of the ease with which one can map out ones social network and expand it. Such capabilities allow people to establish career advancing relationships through mapping their social networks and learning the links they may have to potential contacts. As a result, online social networks once reserved primarily for informal social networking between young socialites are quickly becoming a primary resource for job hunters.

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