Job Hunters: Quality Tops Quantity When It Comes To Contacts

By Len Boselovic
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Rahul Telang, who teaches information systems and management at Carnegie Mellon University says that career-related networks on the internet make it easy to pile up the connections. However as Telang points out, “It’s the quality of your connections, not the quantity, that counts.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Before online social networks came along, finding a job was often times a matter of who you knew.

The digital age hasn’t debunked that conventional wisdom. But it has deluded some into believing that having hundreds of connections on LinkedIn or other professional social networks will make their next job search quicker and more successful.

If you think that’s the case, Rahul Telang, who teaches information systems and management at Carnegie Mellon University, has some news: It’s the quality of your connections, not the quantity, that counts.

“It’s OK to have a large network,” Telang said. “But realize that it’s only a certain part of your network, people who you know well … those are the people who are going to be very helpful.”

Telang and Rajiv Garg of the University of Texas analyzed how unemployed people used their social networks in their searches for jobs and how effective those strategies were.

They found the strongest connections on LinkedIn and other career-related online networks generated the most success in finding leads for jobs, landing interviews and ultimately getting job offers.

Strong connections are more likely to go to bat for you, calling employers on your behalf and helping you get your foot in the door, Telang said.

Their study, based on a survey of 424 jobseekers, was published in Management Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

“Strong ties play a positive role in all aspects of job search … however, weak ties are mostly ineffective in generating job outcomes,” they wrote.

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