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Are Bigger Facebook and LinkedIn Networks Better Networks?

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Bigger, broader networks on Facebook and LinkedIn may not be helping you or the recruiters trying to find you.

For all the effort you put into expanding your network on LinkedIn and “friending” colleagues and acquaintances of acquaintances on Facebook, the bigger, broader network may not be helping you or the recruiters trying to find you.

Networking should be about quality, not quantity, wrote Jon Picoult, the founder of Watermark Consulting in Simsbury, Conn., in a column for the New York Times’ Sunday Business section.

Networking 101: A recruiter or hiring manager can make assessments about your value based on the people you know, since your network is vouching for you. But what happens when you network includes people you don’t know at all or barely know or know, but would not recommend?

Companies may be better served hiring candidates who found them outside their networks, and job seekers may actually stand out by presenting themselves for hire without a connection or introduction.

Is your company searching for proactive, enterprising people who take the bull by the horns and get things done? These people aren’t constrained by their networks. They’ve taken real initiative, researched your company, identified executives in their area of interest, and sent those people unsolicited résumés and thoughtful, genuine messages of interest. They’re the ones who have pinned their hopes on a belief that meritocracy deserves a place not just in a company’s dealings with its employees, but also in its search for new talent.

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