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Why your next job hunt will be 'crowdsourced'

Posting in Technology

Crowdsourcing has become a compelling tool for fixing business problems or surfacing new innovations. It can also be employed for more personal quests, such as job hunting.

That's the word from Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire, who points out in a recent Mashable post that today's social media resources enable job-seekers to put the network to work for them when seeking new employment. (Or, I might add, consultants or freelancers seeking new clients.)

The principal in crowdsourcing is to put a question or an issue out to the network, and see what comes back. Often, it may result in a sizeable set of responses with solutions or approaches not even thought about. Imagine what this type or approach will do for a job hunt.

Tolan takes some of the very smart techniques for job hunting first documented more than three decades ago by Richard Nelson Bolles in What Color is Your Parachute?, and adds a 2013 social-media spin to them. Bolles emphasized that the best way to find a meaningful job is to research an organization and its needs in-depth, so you can eventually approach them in a well-informed way to land -- or better yet, create -- the job you relish.

Now, with social media, it's easy to locate people in an organization or a professional a job-hunter is targeting. And, in line with Bolles' advice, don't come on strong asking for a job -- rather, build a rapport:

"The best resource to find out what life is like in a given position is a space where people with that job title gather. This could be an industry-specific Twitter chat, a LinkedIn group, or even a Meetup event. There are literally one million LinkedIn groups, so there should be at least one dedicated to your dream position. Once you’ve identified a source of contacts who can give you insight into the job, inquire politely if you can ask a few quick questions. Most professionals are eager to help others and make new contacts and will be thrilled you turned to them as thought leaders."

Inquiries into areas such as interview questions, decision-makers, and corporate culture can be crowdsourced, Tolan continues. "If you’re not directly linked with anyone in your company of choice, you can always ask a connection to help you reach out. Utilize big social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to find current and former employees, then ask if they have a few moments to talk about the company."

(Thumbnail photo credit: Joe McKendrick.)

— By on January 11, 2013, 6:35 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure