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Chicago Magazine / August 2009 / Will Work for Friends Will Work for Friends

Summary: Chicago Magazine / August 2009 / Will Work for Friends
Will Work for Friends
Online interactions will never replace the power of face-to-face meetings. But
social networking can enhance those relationships--and may even land you a job
By Rebecca Little
The national unemployment rate reached 9.4 percent in May, with Chicago's rate at 10.7 percent
in the same month, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics. As you would expect, the number of applicants at the high-volume national jobs
websites--such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and HotJobs.com--has soared. For
example, in January, CareerBuilder.com, the nation's largest in traffic and revenue, reported a
record number of job seekers--25.7 million unique visitors.
So how can the recently laid off hope to stand out when employers are calling the shots in such a
competitive market? Social networking seems to be the next frontier. "People are finally
realizing that you have to attack it differently than everyone else is," says Brian Uzzi, an expert
in social networking and a professor in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern
University. "Using these networks at least gets your foot in the door, and that's the key."
The research underlying social networking derives from an influential 1973 study, "The Strength
of Weak Ties," from the Stanford University sociologist Mark Granovetter. His research showed
that most people found jobs through public ads, headhunters, and through their friends--but the
best jobs came from friends of friends. "It turns out that your close friends often travel in the


Source: Amaral, Luis A.N. - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University


Collections: Physics; Biology and Medicine