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Whoisjohngalt
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Is social networking to advance your career a second handed thing? If so or not so, why? Social networking involves contacting other people to mutually help each other to find jobs etc. I have found Monster to be a good source for networking tips.

Also would you contact random people on social networking tools like Facebook or LinkedIn if you think that they could help you in your career?

Thirdly, if anyone has any good networking tips (online or offline) to hand out please do so. :D

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Is social networking to advance your career a second handed thing? If so or not so, why? Social networking involves contacting other people to mutually help each other to find jobs etc.
A traditional way to get a job is the accomplishment-based approach, where you do certain things that are relevant to the job, and then the employer looks at the applicants and evaluates candidates in light of those accomplishments. This might involve having taken certain classes and gotten an A; or perhaps you're created a written object like an article; or you invented or improved on a gadget; or you managed a certain department in a firm and made it more profitable. However, the employer may not be in a position to accurately evaluate your accomplishments (so an electrical engineer is probably not in a good position to evaluate you as an accountant for his firm). Or, as in the case of grades, they may be meaningless in some area because everybody gets an A. So employers also rely on the letter of recommendation by somebody "in the know" to determine whether the candidate is a good choice for the position.

"Social networking" is, from what I can tell, a hybrid of the letter of recommendation and the college fraternity. Basically, if you're good enough to be in that social network, then you must be good enough to hire. This seems to be most effective with near-peers, for example in academics a first-year grad student and a last-year grad student interacting as part of the club "grad student", which then can carry over when last-year grad student is now an employer and first-year grad student is a job candidate. If you are wondering about candidates for a position, you can simply look to see if they're part of your network. If you can't evaluate candidates on the basis of objective merit, then you have to go with things like comfort, like, will you feel comfortable hiring A who if totally outside your network, or B who is part of the community that defines you. {Can anyone guess what kinds of talks I spent my morning listening to?}.

So, yes.

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I try to imagine it from the perspective of a manager or owner. Say I have a very close business partner whose judgment I trust and depend on. He comes to me and says, "I've met this guy, I've worked with him in the past, and I can tell you he's a damn good employee. He'll get the job done." That could be a more valuable credential than getting an A in a class (which, incidentally, can be just as subjective as social networking). There is no one perfect test for who is the best candidate to hire, so the best manager will probably use a shrewed balance of personal recommendations, strong resume, certifications, samples of previous work, and a personal interview.

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There is no one perfect test for who is the best candidate to hire, so the best manager will probably use a shrewed balance of personal recommendations, strong resume, certifications, samples of previous work, and a personal interview.
The question is, as far as I'm concerned, whether "social networking" is the same as the profound personal evaluation and commitment of a trusted colleague writing a letter of recommendation. A personal letter written by a trusted expert in the area on company stationary is good: and it also isn't "social networking".
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