Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

It's Tuesday morning, the day after a three-day holiday. You are sitting at your computer reviewing your e-mail and maybe wishing you were somewhere else.

It's not that you hate your job; it's just that you don't feel appreciated and don't feel your talents are being put to the best use by your current employer. If fact, according to Marcus Buckingham, half of all workers will spend half of their workday doing things they are not particularly interested in doing.

So, you might spend part of your workday going online and casually searching for another job, being careful to pull up some "real work" should your boss stop by for a visit.

Why not consider a different strategy? Why not spend part of your day -- your lunch break perhaps -- developing your network of contacts? In this third installment of a series on Internet Recruiting we will explore the concept of social networking.

Fully 60% of 200 employers surveyed say they plan to invest in social networking technology to generate referrals to fill vacant positions. Social networking Websites have been in the news lately. If you have teenage child chances are you are aware of a Website called MySpace. A similar Website called Facebook is popular with college kids. Dozens of business networking sites have sprung up over the past year of so.

All of these Websites are based on the concept that by developing a network of like-minded peers who have their own network of contacts, you can expand your network exponentially. The concept has been made popular by the trivia game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Let's pick one business-related social network -- LinkedIn -- and explore it. Why LinkedIn? Because it's been written up in the popular press and it's the only career network I've been invited to join! Since this is a "club" you do have to be a "member" to see what goes on behind the scenes. Currently, I have one "connection" in my network -- the person who invited me. This "sponsor" is connected to three other people. These three other people have connections. All told, I am just two connections away from being in touch with 137 business professionals, all from one connection!

So, you can see that "working your network" can lead to introductions that you didn't think were possible. Even Kevin Bacon, Independent Motion Pictures and Film Professional, from Los Angeles is LinkedIn! Alas, none of my current contacts has a connection to Kevin, not yet anyway.

Two features of LinkedIn that I find particularly interesting:
An increasing number of employers will use social networks to fill job vacancies. The time to start building your network is today, while the economy is good and jobs are plentiful. If you feel I am a trusted contact that you would like to continue doing business with, then by all means, visit my LinkedIn page and join my network today. It's free, it's easy, and it could lead to your next job, or better yet, an introduction to Kevin Bacon!

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