Non-awkward networking is pretty hardto master. From聽tips on small talk聽to making the most of that power lunch, there are just a lot of moving parts 鈥 and so, so many questions. How soon is too soon to follow up with a new connection? What questions should I be asking? Is it better to have a huge network of loose connections or a small network of really strong ones? If you鈥檝e ever asked yourself that last one, you鈥檙e聽definitely聽not alone, and the researchers at Facebook want to help you out with聽tips for how to network. But the thing is, you can鈥檛 just have one or the other聽鈥 you鈥檙e gonna need both.


In a聽new, forthcoming study, Facebook wanted to figure out聽what types of networking connections lead to more job opportunities. They used US data from employment info and friendships on people鈥檚 Facebook profiles. The researchers looked at people who interacted a lot on Facebook聽鈥 writing on each other鈥檚 walls, tagging each other in photos and having mutual friends聽鈥 and then at when people posted their employment start dates. So, if person A starts and a company and a year or so later, person B starts at the same company, there鈥檚 a good chance person A referred person B to the opportunity.

But who鈥檚 more likely to get you a job: someone you interact with often on Facebook or someone who鈥檚 mostly just an acquaintance? Well, it鈥檚 complicated. The researchers found two seemingly contradictory answers: One is that most people find a job through weaker connections, and the other is that stronger connections are more likely to result in a job opportunity. Wait, what?

鈥淗ow is this possible?鈥 Facebook writes in their study. 鈥淲ell, weak ties are important collectively because of their quantity,聽but strong ties are important individually because of their quality.鈥 Huh!聽So, the takeaway聽is that it鈥檚 important to keep your options open. Network as much and as widely as possible, but you should聽also make sure you鈥檙e honing in on connections where you see the most potential.

And since we all know networking is moving more and more into the digital realm, Facebook is a great way to make those connections. With that in mind, the awesome people at Facebook shared some super helpful tips with us to get the most out of your social networking.


1.聽Make sure your profile reflects what you鈥檙e about.聽It鈥檚 no secret that potential employers are definitely searching your name on Facebook. Make sure they don鈥檛 find any dealbreakers 鈥 and that your personality shines through a bit! 鈥淢ake sure your profile is clean, review privacy settings and use the 鈥淰iew As鈥 feature,鈥 Facebook tells us. 鈥淯pdate audience settings to 鈥減ublic鈥 for work and education info, so acquaintances, recruiters and potential employers can find you. Add an intro that lets you set a 101-character bio, and select up to five public featured photos that highlight your personality.鈥

2.聽Pick strategic cover and profile photos.聽If you鈥檙e using Facebook to network (and let鈥檚 face it, you聽should聽be), you鈥檙e probably gonna want to ditch that spring break profile picture. But that doesn鈥檛 mean you need a boring headshot either. It鈥檚 about finding the right balance. 鈥淔irst impressions make a world of a difference. Your cover and profile photos are prime real estate on your profile, so keep it appropriate but also true to who you are.鈥

3. Take a good look at your other photos too.聽You have complete control over your profile picture, but you can鈥檛 always control when you鈥檒l be tagged in a silly photo you wouldn鈥檛 necessarily want a potential employer to see. Adjusting which photos are public and which are just for friends is a good way to fix that problem. 鈥淛ust because you had to document your wild college nights amongst friends doesn鈥檛 mean your budding professional network needs to be privy. No need to delete photos or albums, just adjust audience settings,鈥 Facebook tells us.


4.聽You are what you like.聽You never know聽how聽you鈥檙e going to connect with someone. Maybe you like the same band or have the same favorite restaurant聽鈥 and what better way to sum up these interests than your likes on Facebook? But it鈥檚 important to make sure they鈥檙e up to date: 鈥淐hances are you鈥檝e been on Facebook for at least the last five years, and some of the Pages you like might not be the ones you connect with you now. Manage the Pages you like in the 鈥榓bout鈥 section so your likes are appropriate, professional and a reflection of you and your interests.鈥

5.聽Find your people.聽There are聽tons聽of groups out there for people just like YOU聽鈥 people who have the same career interests, work in the same niche field or are killin鈥 it in the field you want to break into. 鈥淪earch Facebook for groups relevant to your industry or interests and see which ones your friends in similar fields have joined. Share an applicable article or two to start some dialogue with members or pose a question directly.鈥

6.聽Reach out individually too.聽If you see someone posting things relevant to your career or come across an executive at a company you鈥檙e interested in, send them a message! What鈥檚 the worst that could happen? 鈥淭he beauty of Facebook鈥檚 1.5 billion+ network is that it鈥檚 yours, too. Don鈥檛 be shy about reaching out to those who can assist, answer questions and make further introductions.鈥

How do YOU network on Facebook? Share your tips with us on Twitter @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)