Another Degree of Kevin Bacon? How Online Networking Can Help You Master Your Job Search

Another Degree of Kevin Bacon? How Online Networking Can Help You Master Your Job Search

It's a small world, so small that any given person in the world is only six contacts away from any other...


It's a small world, so small that any given person in the world is only six contacts away from any other person. In other words, odds are you know a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend of Kevin Bacon. Exciting, isn’t it? Even more exciting is that in the age of top online masters programs, Kevin Bacon may be closer than you think

Social networking on the internet makes it extremely easy to pursue those networking contacts quickly and effectively. It is now easier than ever for anyone to use personal connections to land a position at their dream company. Here are a few ways to start.

The largest network for professionals is LinkedIn. It's straightforward and with few frills. All you need to do is list your work experience, career objectives, and post links to your personal website or the company you currently work for. LinkedIn is easy to use, and it offers most services for free. Even better, the platform makes it easy to cultivate recommendations from employers or clients and for friends to introduce you to employers they know.

Start sharing your interests on Twitter, Pinboard and Google+. Each platform has different advantages, but you should put profiles on networks where you can be an active member of the community. Dan Klamm advises on Mashable to customize your voice to the audience of each network. So Twitter is a little more laid-back, whereas LinkedIn is more professional. Spend a little bit of time everyday contributing to your social media outlets.

The articles you read, the news clips you check out, and the professionals whose social media you follow all allow a prospective employer to see what kind of person you are. They allow people to see what you're passionate about and how you invest your time and intellect. For a real-life example, you can spy on Naveen Selvadurai, the co-founder of social media site Foursquare here. This social media guru and tech entrepreneur posts all sorts of content to his Pinboard that could be interesting to potential investors, partners, or associates.

Donna Mitchell of finance blog financial-planning.com says you should optimize your appearance in search results by peppering your LinkedIn profile with keywords about what you do and where. Prospective clients or employers will often search among their social circles for the type of talent they need: it introduces a feeling of trust. Use a headline that gets right to the point, and underscore your specialties.

Grow your network once you've set up your profiles. Reach out to former co-workers and bosses--they can write recommendations for you and possibly connect you to more people. Reach out to strangers who share common interests or work in the same field.

Connect your online profiles with real-world networking. Follow up with people you meet at trade-shows, meetups and career-days through your social networks. Your online profiles should maximixe your real-world connections. Business is still about relationships. And in your circle, you are at most six clicks away from your future investor, mentor, or boss.